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Kidnappers seize children from Nigeria school bus

By AFP

January 30, 2024 10:31 PM


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Kidnappers attacked a Nigerian school bus and abducted five children along with their teachers, the school's founder said on Tuesday as outrage grows over insecurity in the country.

Kidnapping for ransom by criminal gangs is a major problem in Nigeria and the new government is facing an outcry over a recent spate of abductions.

The gunmen in southwestern Ekiti state shot the bus's tyres and took the children captive on their way home from school on Monday afternoon, co-founder Gabriel Adesanya told AFP.

He said the Emure Apostolic Faith Primary School pupils aged between eight and 14 were still missing along with the bus driver, conductor and two teachers.

"I've never seen anything like this before," he said. "The parents are very worried."

Police confirmed the abduction and said they had sent officers "to ensure the victims are rescued and suspects arrested".

Footage shared online -- which AFP has not been able to verify -- showed an empty school bus and abandoned belongings.

"There is no security in our country," a man at the scene says in the clip.

Police said two traditional rulers were killed in a separate attack in the same state on Monday.

The Ekiti monarchs were shot dead by unknown gunmen.

In a message condemning the "brutal bloodletting", President Bola Ahmed Tinubu called for the "immediate rescue" of the kidnapped school pupils and teachers.

"President Tinubu assures Nigerians that the nation's security architecture is being robustly fortified," his spokesman said.

Tinubu came to power last year promising to address insecurity in Nigeria, including jihadists in the northeast, criminal militias in the northwest and a flareup of intercommunal violence in central states -- but critics say the violence is out of control.

Nigerian risk consultancy SBM Intelligence said it had recorded 3,964 people abducted in Nigeria since Tinubu took office in May.

At the start of the year criminals abducted five young sisters near the capital Abuja and killed one of them when a ransom deadline passed, sparking national outrage.

The kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok in northeastern Nigeria by Boko Haram jihadists made global headlines in 2014, but daily abductions rarely gain global attention.


AFP


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