Many Children Reportedly Abducted in Nigeria

Many Children Reportedly Abducted in Nigeria

( – When a parent sends their child to school, they do so with the hopes that they will be safe. However, in developing countries like Nigeria, children face the risk of kidnapping by extremists. In 2014, the abduction of more than 200 girls in the country’s Chibok village shocked the world. Since then, those tragic events have become common. Multiple kidnappings recently took place, shining a light on the massive problem.

Mass Kidnappings

Northern Nigeria has experienced three significant kidnappings in the span of a week. The first took place in Gamboru Ngala, where the UN believes extremists kidnapped nearly 200 people, mostly women and children, while they were collecting firewood. Amnesty International reported that the figure could be at least 400. Because the area is remote, it took several days for the news of the kidnapping to break even though it occurred on March 3.

Just a few days later, on Thursday, March 7, kidnappers abducted more than 280 students between the ages of 8 and 15 from a school in Kuriga. The kidnappers, believed to be the same faction involved in the Chibok village abductions of 2014, the Boko Haram Islamic Group, also took a teacher with them. The governor of Kaduna state, Uba Sani, confirmed the assailants took the children and instructor against their will. Abductors removed 187 of the victims from a secondary school, while the other 125 were from a primary school. Twenty-five students have since returned.

The third abduction took place on Saturday morning when armed men broke into a boarding school while children slept. This time, they took 15 children. Authorities launched a tactical squad to search for the youngsters, but the road conditions presented many challenges. Regular vehicles couldn’t travel on them. Only motorcycles could make it through, which is what police finally used in their efforts.

Officials say they are doing everything possible to find the children and expect them to return safely. Authorities are seldom able to apprehend kidnappers. The perpetrators are often considered to be ordinary people driven to “desperate means” to survive, per Nigerian novelist Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, as quoted by The Week.

Motive Behind Kidnappings

Nigerian officials say the main motive behind kidnappings is money. Extremist groups often demand ransoms before releasing the kids. Thus far, the exception remains the 2014 Boko Haram tragedy. In that case, Abubakar Shekau, the extremist group’s brutal leader, took offense to the introduction of Western education, making the abductions political in nature. He claimed Western schooling “should end” so the focus could remain on Islamic teachings. Boko Haram initially kidnapped 276 young women in 2014. By 2022, more than 100 remained missing.

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