Gunmen in Nigeria Kidnap at Least 87 People

( – An armed bandit group in Nigeria recently conducted a mass abduction, forcibly taking hostage as many as 100 people.

Authorities said that the attack occurred in the Kajuru area in the country’s Kaduna state. Victims included women and children. Officials said that the kidnappers were able to approach the village undetected by conducting their operation at night, parking their vehicles and motorbikes away from the village in order to help them approach stealthily.

Local authorities say that a security force has been dispatched to rescue the victims. The incident followed separate instances of kidnapping by armed groups just weeks apart. In early March, 286 students from Kuriga, also in Kaduna state, were abducted, while on March 16, 61 people from the Buda community were taken captive by another armed group.

Kidnappings in Nigeria have become more commonplace after armed men working for the warlord-controlled Boko Haram abducted more than 200 students at a school for girls in Chibok, located in the country’s Borno state. The kidnapping, which occurred more than 10 years ago, set a precedent for other armed groups to follow, leaving the families of the victims scrambling to cough up the money to ransom their loved ones. Victims’ families often resort to selling valuables and properties in order to pay the ransom, with negotiations often carried out through government channels. Once a ransom is paid, the victims are often let go. However, Nigeria enacted a law in 2022 that bans handing off money to kidnappers, and officials now often deny that victims were freed due to ransom payments.

The spate of kidnappings has also put additional pressure on President Bola Tinubu to take concrete steps to lower the incidence of armed abductions. SBM Intelligence, a Nigerian risk consultancy firm, reported that 4,777 people have been taken captive and held for ransom since Tinubu assumed the presidency in May of last year.

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