- 14 of at least 20 students kidnapped from a Nigerian university have been rescued by security forces, according to school authorities.
- The school, located in Bungudu District of Zamfara State, was the first target of a mass kidnapping since President Bola Tinubu took office in May.
- School kidnappings are common in northwest Nigeria, with armed groups often demanding exorbitant ransoms to fund their operations.
Security forces have rescued 14 of at least 20 students kidnapped from a university in northwestern Nigeria and are searching for the remaining captives, school authorities said Monday.
Gunmen attacked the school in the hard-hit Bungudu district of Zamfara state last week and fled with the students and some workers in the first mass school kidnapping in the West African nation since President Bola Tinubu took office in May.
Such abductions of students from schools are common in Nigeria’s northwestern and central regions, where armed groups often take people hostage in exchange for huge ransoms, which analysts said help them buy weapons and sustain their businesses.
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The 14 students from Gusau Federal University were rescued along with two other people, a university statement said, without further details on when they were freed or the nature of the rescue operation.
“The sad and unfortunate incident has indeed brought the university community into serious tension and concern,” the statement said, adding that security forces were “doing their best” to rescue the remaining students. He also said that measures are being taken to strengthen security around the university.
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The latest attack poses a new challenge for Tinubu, who extended the ruling party’s reign with his electoral victory after promising to solve the country’s security crisis. It adds to mounting pressure from the opposition and activists who have accused Tinubu of not doing enough to guarantee security.
Armed groups carry out violent attacks in many remote communities, often taking advantage of the inadequate security presence in these areas.
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While condemning the kidnapping in a statement issued by his office on Sunday, Tinubu said his administration is “determined to ensure that educational institutions remain havens of knowledge, development and opportunity and completely free from the menacing acts of terrorists”.