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Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

Armed assailants stormed a boarding school in northwestern Nigeria in the early hours of Saturday, abducting 15 children while they slept. This brazen act occurred merely 48 hours after nearly 300 students were abducted in the conflict-ridden region, according to authorities cited by The Associated Press.

School abductions have sadly become a distressingly common occurrence in Nigeria’s northern territories, particularly since the notorious 2014 kidnapping of over 200 schoolgirls by Islamic extremists in Borno state’s Chibok village garnered global attention. Since then, armed gangs have targeted educational institutions as lucrative sources of ransom, resulting in the abduction of at least 1,400 individuals.

The assailants struck the Gidan Bakuso village in the Gada council area of Sokoto state around 1 a.m. local time, revealed Sokoto police spokesman Ahmad Rufa’i. Under the cover of darkness, they swiftly infiltrated an Islamic school, seizing the unsuspecting children from their dormitories before security forces could intervene. Additionally, one woman was reported abducted from the village, prompting the deployment of a police tactical squad to commence search operations.

However, the rugged terrain and inaccessible roads in the area posed significant challenges to the rescue mission, as Rufa’i explained, “It is a remote village (and) vehicles cannot go there; they (the police squad) had to use motorcycles to the village.” This logistical hurdle underscored the complexities of swiftly responding to such crises in remote regions.

This latest assault marks the third mass kidnapping in northern Nigeria within a week, further underscoring the escalating security crisis plaguing Africa’s most populous nation. The previous incidents include the abduction of over 200 individuals, primarily women and children, in Borno state, and the subsequent seizure of 287 students from a government school in Kaduna state.

While no group has claimed responsibility for these abductions, suspicions abound regarding the involvement of Islamic extremists in the Borno state incident, while local tensions between herders and host communities have been cited as a potential motive for the school kidnappings. Vice President Kashim Shettima convened with authorities and concerned parents in Kaduna state, assuring them of ongoing efforts by security forces to locate and safely rescue the abducted children, providing a glimmer of hope amid this distressing ordeal.

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