More than 100 children were abducted from a school in western Nigeria on Sunday (30), bringing the total number of students abducted in the country to 700 in the past six months.
The attack took place at an Islamic college in the town of Tegina, in the country’s most populous state, Niger. According to the authorities, armed men arrived at the scene around 3:00 p.m. (11:00 a.m. in Brasilia).
“I saw between 20 and 25 motorcycles with heavily armed people. They entered the school and then left with 150 or more students, ”said school owner Abubakar Tegina.
He also said that the school has around 300 enrolled children, aged 7 to 15, but it is not possible to know exactly how many were abducted as many students were not there at the time of. the attack. According to the AFP news agency, the kidnappers only took students over 12, leaving the others behind.
Later, 11 abducted children were released – according to the local government, they were too young and could not keep up with the fleeing kidnappers.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which has become increasingly common in the northern and western regions of the country. Kidnappings are often carried out by criminal groups, who then demand that families or the government pay a ransom in order for the children to be released.
A total of 730 children are currently under the power of kidnappers across the country.
This account does not include the 14 who were released on Saturday (29), in Kaduna state, in the north of the country, after spending 40 days in the power of criminals. To lobby for the ransom payment, the group killed five kidnapped students. According to the local press, families paid 180 million naira (about 2.2 million reais) for the release of the young people.
Several of these kidnappings have had international repercussions, such as the one that occurred in February, when 279 girls between the ages of 12 and 16 were kidnapped and released five days later in Zamfara state, northwestern Congo. Nigeria. The wave of kidnappings began in December, with the capture of 344 children in a boarding school in Kankara, in the north of the country. The victims were released after a week.
The increase in kidnappings also raises fears of an increase in the dropout rate in poor and rural areas, especially among women. These places already have the highest rates of out-of-school children in the country. In response, states have decided to temporarily close schools and boarding schools.