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TIMELINE: Four incidents in 3 weeks… how Niger became ‘epicentre’ of kidnapping

TIMELINE: Four incidents in 3 weeks… how Niger became ‘epicentre’ of kidnapping
March 14
09:01 2021

Nigeria has recorded a series of mass abductions in various parts of the country over the years, beginning with the kidnap of over 200 students of Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS) in Chibok LGA of Borno state, in April 2014.

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Yobe, Zamfara, Katsina are other states in the northern region that have experienced similar incidents. Over the years, the kidnappers limited their activities to the north-west and north-east regions. You can read a rundown of the abductions here.

The abductions, which appear to have become a trend, however, shifted to the north-central region in February with the kidnapping of schoolchildren from Niger.

Since then, the state has been faced with a spree of kidnapping incidents.

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Below is a timeline of the attacks.

February 14: Suspected gunmen ambushed commuters on a Niger State Transport Authority (NSTA) bus said to be returning from a wedding in Rijau LGA of the state. Fifty-three of the passengers were kidnapped.

The victims, including 20 women and nine children, were released eight days later.

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February 17: Armed bandits invaded the Government Science College (GSC), Kagara in Niger state and abducted 27 students. The bandits also kidnapped members of their family and some teachers in the school — a total of 42 hostages.

The abductees were released after 10 days in captivity.

February 27: Three persons were reportedly killed, and an unknown number of residents were kidnapped after suspected bandits launched simultaneous attacks on three communities in Rafi LGA of Niger state.

The three affected villages are Yakira, Gugu and Karaku — all surrounding Kagara where schoolchildren were recently kidnapped.

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March 8: 19 people were said to have been abducted during an attack in Kutunku village in Wushishi LGA of Niger.

The bandits reportedly operated for about two hours and trekked back to the bush where they parked their motorcycles.

They subsequently demanded N200 million as ransom to free the abductees.

Meanwhile, Abubakar Bello, governor of Niger, has said his administration will not offer cash to repentant bandits.

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According to Bello, some bandits claim to have repented, but collect money to purchase more weapons and return to crime.

The governor said, instead, any bandit who gives up his old ways would be offered a means of livelihood without cash backing.

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