At least 73 children have been snatched by unknown gunmen in northwestern Nigeria, according to local authorities. Kidnapping is a common occurrence in the country, with over 1,000 abducted for ransom this year alone.
The incident occurred at a secondary school located in the remote village of Kaya, in the state of Zamfara. A manhunt for the kidnappers was quickly launched, however, has yet to yield any results.
“The command…has deployed a search and rescue team that was mandated to work in synergy with the military to ensure the safe rescue of the abducted students,” Zamfara police spokesman Mohammed Shehu stated.
The latest mass abduction comes days after around 100 kidnapped children were freed from captivity in the state of Niger, northwest Nigeria. The children spent nearly three months in captivity after 136 pupils were snatched from an Islamic seminary in the town of Tegina. Six of them died while they were being held, and some managed to escape on their own.
While the government has not elaborated on the release, media reports suggested an unspecified ransom was paid to the kidnappers. The Tegina group of children was one of the youngest yet kidnapped in the country, including kids as young as four. Some of the released minors were reportedly returned in poor condition, with the school’s teachers telling media some were “vomiting blood” and unable to walk on their own.
Kidnapping has become an increasingly frequent occurrence in the country, with more than 1,000 children abducted since last December. The tactic is employed both by anti-government insurgents active in the northeast of the country, as well as by assorted armed gangs active elsewhere across Nigeria. Many of those kidnapped have been released, reportedly after ransoms were paid.
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