Gunmen kidnapped 136 pupils from an Islamic seminary in central Nigeria over the weekend, the latest in a succession of such occurrences affecting Africa’s most populous nation, according to the state government.
The raid on the Tegina school was first announced by the Niger state government on Monday, but the number of pupils detained was not stated.
Residents in the northwest and central Nigeria are being terrorized by armed gangs that are robbing villages, stealing cattle, and kidnapping people. Since December, more than 700 children and students have been kidnapped for ransom by gunmen.
“The number of kids abducted by bandits at the Salihu Tanko Islamic School, Tegina… has been confirmed to be 136,” the local authorities said on Twitter late Wednesday.
Security agencies are “doing their best but don’t have adequate logistics,” according to state deputy governor Alh Ahmed Mohammed Ketso, who added that additional assistance is required to equip them to tackle criminals.
According to police, 11 of the students were released because they were “too tiny and couldn’t walk” too far. The state administration of Niger has stated that it does not pay ransoms.
“We’re trying to work out a plan to get them back safely,” stated the deputy governor.