The mass kidnapping of students from their schools is becoming a norm in Nigeria, particularly in the northern part of the country.
The country has witnessed at least 11 cases of kidnapping of pupils and students from their schools since 2014. Over 700 students and pupils have been kidnapped since December, 2020.
Just before sunset on Thursday, gunmen attacked the Federal Government College Birnin-Yauri, a secondary school in Kebbi State, and abducted dozens of students from their dormitories.
The armed bandits killed a police officer and kidnapped at least 80 students and five teachers during the attack.
Three of the students are dead, according to the BBC Hausa. Security forces continued their search and, by Sunday morning, authorities were still counting the missing.
Less than a quarter of the kidnapped students have since been freed by security operatives in shootouts with the bandits.
The latest attack occurred just over three weeks after 169 students were abducted by armed bandits from an Islamic school in Niger State. Those abducted pupils are yet to be released at the time of this report.
More than 700 students have been kidnapped by bandits since December, forcing some states to shut down schools.
The scourge has spread since the abduction of more than 300 boys from a boarding school in Kankara, Katsina State, last December.
Two months later, gunmen raided another school – this time in Niger State – taking 27 students into their hideouts.
Then in late February, bandits forced 317 girls from a school in Zamfara State, firing into the air for over two hours as they raided the village, residents said at the time.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how the breakdown of security in the North-west and North-central regions of the country has led to a surge in kidnapping and banditry.
Armed bandits have taken advantage of an ineffective government and weak security presence to continue their reign of terror on villages and schools.
These criminal gangs maintain camps in various forests, including the Rugu forest, which links Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger states. From their hideouts, they organise raids on rural communities, schools, homes and Nigeria’s road networks.
PREMIUM TIMES highlights the cases of mass kidnapping of students from schools in Nigeria in the last seven years.
April 14, 2014: Boko Haram terrorists abducted 276 schoolgirls from their dormitories in Chibok, Borno State at a time the students were writing their final year exams. About 57 of the girls managed to escape at different times while on transit with their abductors and more than 100 have been released in talks with the government. About 100 Chibok girls have yet to be accounted for.
February 19, 2018: About 113 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram at a government girls secondary school in Dapchi, Yobe State. Most of the girls were later released while a few died. One of them, Leah Sharibu, is still with the Boko Haram.
December 11 2020: Gunmen attacked the Government Boys Science Secondary School in Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State and abducted over 300 students. All the boys were released about a week after the abduction.
December 20, 2020: At least 80 pupils were kidnapped at an Islamic school in Mahuta, Katsina State. The students were released after negotiation with their abductors but the government denied paying any ransom.
February 17, 2021: Bandits kidnapped 27 students at a government science college, Kagara, Niger State. All the students were later released after negotiations.
February 26, 2021: Bandits kidnapped 317 female students of Government Girls Secondary School Jangebe, Zamfara State, in an early morning raid on their school. One of the students died while the rest were later released after negotiations.
March 12, 2021: Armed bandits kidnapped 27 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna State. The students were released after negotiations, nearly two months after they were abducted.
April 21, 2021: About 17 students of Greenfield University were kidnapped by armed bandits in Kaduna State. The bandits killed five of the students and released the remaining 14 who were held captive for more than a month. The families of the victims admitted paying over N100 million ransom before the students were released.
May 30, 2021: 169 pupils were kidnapped at Salihu Tanko Islamic school, Tegina, Niger State. Many of the students are reportedly ill and still with their abductors as of press time.
June 11, 2021: Bandits kidnapped eight students and some lecturers at Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic, Zaria, Kaduna State. The students were still with their abductors at the time of this report.
June 17, 2021: Armed bandits overpowered police officers and kidnapped 80 schoolchildren and five teachers at the Federal Government College Birnin Yauri, Kebbi State. Three students have died while seven have been rescued by the Nigerian Army.