Search Persists for Hundreds of Abducted School Children in Nigeria

Following the kidnapping of over 280 pupils, ranging in age from seven to eighteen, from a school in Kuriga on Thursday, Nigerian security authorities continued their search efforts on Sunday, deploying woodland searches and roadblocks in the north-western area of the country. Another fifteen youngsters were taken into custody during a later operation that took place on Saturday at a school in Sokoto. 

The frequent kidnappings are part of a pattern in which criminal gangs target educational institutions and highways in order to find large groups of people. They then demand ransom in exchange for their freedom. Over 200 people, predominantly women and children who had been displaced as a result of conflict, were kidnapped as a result of a separate raid that took place in the state of Borno, which is located in the north-eastern part of Nigeria.

It has not been determined who the gang is that is responsible for the kidnappings of students from schools; nonetheless, there is a strong suspicion that they are militant jihadists who are participating in the insurgency in the north-eastern region. A number of individuals who managed to flee the Kuriga event claimed armed men dressed in military uniforms riding onto the school grounds on motorcycles. They separated the male students from the female students and then led them into the forest while using horsewhips.

A villager named Lawan Yaro, who has five grandkids who have been kidnapped, expressed a waning sense of optimism. He pointed out that although the region has experienced insecurity in the past, it has never reached such a level. As a result of criminal gangs adapting their tactics and expanding their influence in the north-west through extortion, more than 3,500 people have been kidnapped in Nigeria over the course of the past year, according to James Barnett, a researcher at the Hudson Institute, which is based in the United States.

An international outcry was sparked after Boko Haram kidnapped more than 250 schoolgirls from Chibok in Borno state in 2014. This circumstance brings to mind the events that transpired in 2014. The armed forces of Nigeria are currently engaged in many fronts, including the fight against armed criminals in the north-west and the intervention in the long-running jihadist insurgency in the north-east. Since 2009, this insurgency has resulted in the deaths of forty thousand people and the displacement of more than two million more.

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