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Nigerian village celebrates the return of kidnapped students

Nigerian village celebrates the return of kidnapped students

THE whole village of Kuriga ran towards the convoy of buses shouting "Our children are back!" and "Alhamdulillah," meaning "Thank you, God", to welcome home more than 100 students and staff who were abducted this month in Nigeria's northwest. The army announced on Sunday it had rescued 137 hostages - 76 female and 61 male - in the neighbouring state of Zamfara, days before a deadline to pay a 1 billion naira ($767,000) ransom for their release. The students described being marched through the forest for more than two weeks in an attempt to hide from authorities, having to sleep under trees,…
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Nigeria police repel attack by gunmen, one officer dies

Nigeria police repel attack by gunmen, one officer dies

A group of armed men attacked a police division in Zurmi town, in Nigeria's northwest Zamfara state, but were repelled by officers with casualties recorded on both sides, the police said. Gangs of heavily armed men referred to as bandits by locals have wreaked havoc across Nigeria's northwest in the past three years, kidnapping thousands, killing hundreds, and making it unsafe to travel by road or to farm in some areas. Zamfara police spokesperson Yazid Abubakar said suspected bandits wielding sophisticated weapons attacked the division late on Sunday, killing a senior officer and wounding two others. "The policemen on duty…
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Nigerian gunmen broke doors, windows in university abduction

Nigerian gunmen broke doors, windows in university abduction

GUNMEN in Nigeria broke down doors, shattered windows and abducted 24 female students from hostels of a university in northwestern Zamfara state in the early hours, witnesses said, in the latest kidnapping to hit the state. As they marched their victims away, the armed men also took a security guard and 10 construction workers who were sleeping in a makeshift shelter on the premises of Federal University Gusau, local officials said. "The armed bandits arrived on motorcycles and started shooting sporadically, that's when I woke up. They went to the girls' hostels near the campus, breaking windows and doors and…
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Gunmen kidnap 80, including children, in northwest Nigeria

Gunmen kidnap 80, including children, in northwest Nigeria

ARDO HAZZAD GUNMEN abducted at least 80 people, mostly women and children, in Nigeria's Zamfara state, a hotspot for kidnappings for ransom by armed gangs targeting remote villages, residents said. Gangs of armed men have attacked hundreds of local communities across northwestern Nigeria in recent years, while Islamist militants continue to stage attacks in the northeast. The latest kidnapping took place on Friday in Wanzamai village in Tsafe local government area in Zamfara, three residents said. Zamfara is one of the states most affected by kidnappings. Musa Usman, whose 14-year-old son Ibrahim was among those abducted, said children and women…
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Anguish for families of 300 abducted Nigerian girls

Anguish for families of 300 abducted Nigerian girls

SEAN SANNI and AFOLABI SOTUNDE RELATIVES of more than 300 girls abducted by gunmen from their boarding school in northwest Nigeria endured an agonising wait for news amid rumours that they had been released, while security forces continued their search. An armed gang kidnapped 317 girls from the Government Girls Science Secondary School in the town of Jangebe, in Zamfara state, at around 1 a.m. on Friday. Two Reuters' correspondents saw a heavy military presence in state capital Gusau on Sunday, with army trucks moving in convoy and police checkpoints on major roads. Zamfara police have worked alongside the army…
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Curfew, market closures for Nigerian town

Curfew, market closures for Nigerian town

AUTHORITIES in Nigeria's Zamfara state have declared a curfew and shut market activities after violence marred the return of hundreds of kidnapped schoolgirls to their families, according to a state spokesman. Late on Wednesday, gunshots and chaos erupted during what should have been the joyous return of 279 schoolgirls abducted by gunmen from their boarding school last week. The government secured the release of the girls on Tuesday, but they had been undergoing medical checks and treatment. At least three people were shot, but it was not clear by whom. A Reuters witness saw police firing tear gas at a…
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Nigeria says 75 abducted children released amid army crackdown

Nigeria says 75 abducted children released amid army crackdown

SEVENTY-five children who were kidnapped from their school in Nigeria's northwestern Zamfara State have been released after their abductors came under pressure from a military crackdown, a state official has said. Gunmen took the students from the village of Kaya on September 1, the latest in a spate of mass kidnappings from schools across the region. More than 1,100 children have been seized since December last year. Authorities say they were abducted by heavily armed gangs of bandits seeking ransoms. A spokesman for the Zamfara State governor said no ransom had been paid for the 75 children, who had been…
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Five girls rescued after Nigeria’s latest abductions

Five girls rescued after Nigeria’s latest abductions

FIVE girls who were among 73 children kidnapped from a school in northwestern Nigeria have been rescued, police in Zamfara State said, although other sources gave different details in the aftermath of the mass abduction. The attack on a secondary school in the village of Kaya was the latest in a spree of raids on schools across the northwest by armed gangs seeking ransoms. More than 1,100 children and teenagers have been abducted since December. "The ongoing search and rescue mission is yielding positive result as five abducted female students were today rescued," Zamfara State Police said in a statement.…
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Politician killed in Nigeria, security crisis worsens

Politician killed in Nigeria, security crisis worsens

A Nigerian politician was killed by bandits while on the road between two northern cities, one of his colleagues has said, while a state governor's convoy came under fire in a separate incident that left three police officers injured. The attacks highlighted a breakdown of law and order across northwestern Nigeria, where armed robberies and kidnappings for ransom have become so frequent that many people are terrified of being on the road. Ahmad Ahmad, a member of the state house of assembly in northwestern Zamfara state, was killed in a rural area on Tuesday evening as he was driving from…
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Nigeria’s humanitarian crisis

Nigeria’s humanitarian crisis

RISING insecurity in Nigeria's northwestern state of Zamfara has spawned a humanitarian crisis, International aid group Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said on Thursday. Gunmen, often riding motorcycles, have attacked towns in the northwest in recent years, forcing thousands to flee across the northern border to Niger. Attackers have attained global notoriety through mass kidnappings at schools, abducting more than 800 students since December. MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders, said the security situation had worsened in the last few months. It referred to an increase in reports of kidnappings, killings, armed robbery and sexual violence in the region. The…
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