Tension in schools as terrorists kidnap over 800 in one week, kill scores

Safety of schoolchildren is again under scrutiny as bandits carry out audacious attacks across the Northern part of the country.

HMTV reports that from Wednesday, March 6 to Monday March 11, about 800 unsuspecting Nigerians, mostly schoolchildren, were kidnapped by daredevil terrorists in the northern part of the country.

According to Amnesty International, AI, Boko Haram terrorists abducted over 400 people, including women and children in Borno State on Tuesday last week.

The Islamic extremists abducted the victims who reportedly left the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camps in Gamboru Ngala council area to search for firewood.

The victims were mostly women and children sacked from their ancestral homes by the terrorist’s causing mayhem in the Northeast.

Barely 24 hours after the Borno attack, over 280 pupils and teachers at Government Secondary School and LEA primary school at Kuriga, Kaduna State were abducted by bandits on March 8, triggering national outrage.

The blood-thirsty bandits invaded the Kuriga area of the Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State in the morning shooting at their victims before taking away at least 280 of the pupils and teachers.

A few days after the Kuriga incident, the assailants struck again in Buda community in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State, abducting over 61 people.

About four persons were reportedly killed during the unfortunate incident.

HMTV also recalls that armed men broke into a boarding school in Gidan Bakuso village of the Gada council area in Sokoto State on March 9 and abducted about 15 children. The attackers invaded the school when the children were sleeping.

Killing in Benue State

The same week, over 50 persons, including a family of seven, were killed following the invasion of Gbagir  community in Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State, by suspected armed Fulani militia.

HMTV also recalls that over 16 people were killed on March 8 during an attack on Wa-ndoo, a community in Mbalom, Gwer-East Local Government Area of Benue State.

The attackers, whom the state governor, Hyacinth Alia and residents claimed were armed herders, invaded the community at night while some of the residents were having supper. They opened fire on residents and whisked some away.

Tension in schools.

Since the 2014 incident when more than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped by the Islamic extremists in Borno State’s Chibok village, there has been a series of abductions of school children.

The armed gangs have targeted and attacked several schools for ransom.

HMTV reports that the recent attacks, particularly the abduction of 280 students in Kaduna State have triggered tension in other school facilities across the nation, especially in the Northern region.

Parents in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT Abuja are worried over rumours of planned attacks in schools.

There are rumours that the terrorists are planning to launch attacks in some government-owned schools, particularly in Bwari, Bwari Area Council.

Our correspondent gathered that some schools have adjusted their academic calendar to enable students to write their second-term examinations and proceed for Easter holidays.

One of the parents, Mrs Maria Adakwu, who spoke to HMTV on Saturday, urged the Nigerian government and the security agencies to beef up security across schools in Abuja.

Maria is worried over the safety of her daughter schooling at the Federal Government College, FGC, Kwali in Sheda village, an outskirt of the nation’s capital.

Recall that the school community was attacked in February 2022, forcing the Federal Government to promptly order the immediate closure of the facility.

According to Mrs Maria, “the government and the security agencies need to be proactive in ensuring the safety of our children. We don’t need to wait until it happens before we take action.

“Most schools in the FCT have remained the same in terms of security despite what has been happening around us. The kidnapping in Kaduna State should be a warning and a sign that it can happen anywhere.

“Parents, especially those of us who have children in boarding schools, hardly sleep with our two eyes closed. We need to be sure of the safety of our children”.

However, when contacted, the FCT Police Public Relations Officer, SP Josephine Adeh allayed fear of any attacks, assuring that schools in the FCT were safe.

She said, “FCT is very safe. All schools are well fortified within the territory and there is no reason to fear and intimidation from any quarters.”

HMTV also gathered on Sunday that some parents in Kaduna State, particularly residents of Chikun Local Government are withdrawing their children from public schools over fear of attacks.

Although the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, SP Mansir Hassan declined speaking on the matter, a security source who preferred not to be mentioned, confirmed that parents and guardians are withdrawing their pupils.

According to him, the recent abduction has triggered palpable fear in many parts of the state.

He said, “Insecurity is a very serious issue here. It is not just about school, people are scared of going out to places like marketplace, mosques and churches because of the bandits.

“Some security officers are also finding ways to be transferred from here.

“We are always the first target in any attack. Wherever they want to attack, they first attack the police formation in the area and sometimes, the attacks happen simultaneously.

“You can’t blame parents for withdrawing their children from schools. It is not possible for the police to be in every school at the same time.

“Some communities are very far from town, so securing those places can be a little difficult. This is why we need more hands. The government should recruit able youths that will help in this matter”.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government, on Wednesday, said it would not pay “a dime” as ransom for the release of over 280 pupils and teachers kidnapped from the Government Secondary School and LEA Primary School at Kuriga, Kaduna State.

The Government also said it had received offers of help from the United States and other countries to secure the student’s release and was weighing the offers.

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