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Nigerian Kidnappers Demand Hefty Ransom, Families Shocked

On 7 March,  Thursday, the small town of Kuriga in Nigeria’s Kaduna State was the target of a recent mass kidnapping. This kidnapping is one of Nigeria’s largest since 2021. Gunmen stormed the LEA primary and secondary school, and approximately 287 hostages were taken, including children, some older students and teachers. One person was reportedly shot dead.


The incident traumatised family members, who now eagerly await justice, putting all their hopes on law enforcement to save their loved ones.


The gunmen have just announced that they want a ransom of nearly one billion naira, or approximately $620,000 for the release of the hostages. They threatened to kill everyone in their custody if their demands were not met.


According to CNN, Jibril Aminu, a spokesperson for the families and community leader, said, “They called me from a hidden number yesterday afternoon at about 16 minutes past 12 and demanded one billion naira as a ransom for the students. They said that the ultimatum would last only three weeks or 20 days from the date they kidnapped the children, and if there was no action from the government, they would kill all of them. 


Aminu also added that the kidnappers mentioned that the kidnapping was to get back at the government and security agencies for killing their gang members. He also believed that the kidnappers got his phone number from the head of the junior secondary section, who is also one of the hostages.


Idris Ibrahim, an elected member of the Kuriga Ward municipal council, confirmed Aminu’s statement. He added that authorities were working hard to find the hidden phone number used to make the ransom call.


Uba Sani, Kaduna’s Governor, also stated that his government was doing everything to ensure the safe return of the pupils and students.


According to Reuters, Mohammed Idris, Nigerian information minister, told reporters, “The President has directed that security agencies must as a matter of urgency ensure that these children and all those who have been kidnapped are bought back to safety and also in the process ensure that not a dime is paid for [the] ransom.”


This kidnapping comes in tow of the first mass kidnapping in three years in Borno State in a camp for people displaced by Islamic-militant groups, where over 200 people were kidnapped. Another recent mass kidnapping was in an Islamic seminary in Sokoto state, where around 15 pupils were taken in their sleep.


These examples show the apparent problem that exists in Nigeria. Mass kidnappings have terrorised Nigerian people and will continue to do so until they are stopped effectively. Moreover, according to Forbes, Mr Mohammed Malick Fall, UN Resident Humanitarian Coordinator, stated that the fact that the resurgence of these kidnappings has taken place so close to Women’s Day will always be a stark reminder of how girls and women are disproportionately affected by this problem.


Thus, the fates of the kidnapped people are yet to be seen. All that anyone can do is hope that authorities are successful in their endeavour of bringing them back unharmed without paying a ransom. It is essential to see how the government will work towards solving this problem once the situation is resolved and ease the fears of many Nigerians vulnerable to these mass kidnappings.


Edited by: Vidhi Dujodwala


Image Source: Associated Press

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