Kidnappers demand food for scores of school hostages

July 7, 2021
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Kidnappers demand food for scores of school hostages

Posted by News Express | 7 July 2021 | 127 times

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Nigerian kidnappers, who abducted more than 100 schoolchildren this week,

have demanded food for their captives as security forces stepped up efforts

to free the hostages, school officials said Wednesday.

Heavily armed gangs, known locally as bandits, have long plagued northwest

and central Nigeria by looting, stealing cattle and abducting for ransom,

but they have increasingly targeted schools and colleges.

Gunmen stormed Bethel Baptist High School in northwestern Kaduna State

early Monday and abducted 121 students while 28 were rescued, school vice

principal Wakili Madugu said, in the latest in a string of mass abductions

for ransom in the state.

School officials had initially said 140 students were taken while 26,

including a teacher, were rescued.

“The kidnappers have made contact with the school and it was confirmed that

121 students were abducted while 28 were rescued and have been released to

their parents,” Madugu told AFP.

He said the gunmen were asking for food for the hostages who are likely

being held in one of the armed group’s forest hideouts while the kidnappers

try to pressure officials for ransom payments.

“The kidnappers have asked for food — rice, beans, oil and seasoning to

feed the students,” he said.

“Right now, the school authorities are meeting with the security agents to

determine the next line of action,” he said.

Madugu said the school had been closed down since Monday, while “we are

doing everything in collaboration with the security agents to free the

students”.

A teacher in the college, Emmanuel Paul, also said the abductors had

contacted the school.

“The bandits have called the school authorities using the phone of the

school head boy at the camp where they’re keeping them, so that they could

negotiate,” he said.

“They called back in the evening after they kept waiting for the food. The

school assured them they are going to do something about it by today,” he

said.

“So far, they have made four contacts, twice on Monday and twice on

Tuesday.”

Paul explained that the initial toll of 140 abducted students which he gave

on Monday did not take into account those who had gone home for a

university entrance examination.

Around 1,000 students and pupils have been abducted across Nigeria since

December. Most have been released after negotiations with local officials,

although some are still being held.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday directed the military, police and

intelligence agencies to ensure safe and early release of all kidnapped

victims. (AFP)


Source: News Express


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