Horror as gunmen abduct over 280 pupils, teachers from Kaduna schools

Gunmen abducted over 280 pupils and teachers from Government Secondary School and LEA Primary School in Kuriga, Kaduna State on Thursday, sparking widespread national outrage.

The attack drew condemnation from various quarters, including the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, Amnesty International, the Parent Teacher Association of Nigeria, the Nigeria Union of Teachers, and the House of Representatives. These organizations urged the government to swiftly rescue the victims.

Sources disclosed that the bandits raided the Kuriga area of Chikun Local Government Area in Kaduna State on Thursday, indiscriminately shooting at their victims before kidnapping at least 280 pupils and teachers from both schools.

The incident occurred barely 24 hours after insurgents abducted 200 internally displaced women in Borno State.

The women were kidnapped in Ngala, the headquarters of Gambarou Ngala in Borno State while fetching firewood in the bush.

On Thursday, bandits invaded Gonin-Gora in the same Chikun LGA, prompting residents to barricade the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway in protest against the abduction of an unspecified number of people in the area.

The kidnappers on Wednesday night through the early hours of Thursday attacked the Kuriga community, kidnapping unspecified numbers of residents.

A teacher at Government Secondary School Kuriga, Sani Abdullahi, narrated how the attack took place, adding that about 280 pupils and teachers were whisked away by the hoodlums.

This was just as the State Governor, Senator Uba Sani led senior government officials and heads of security agencies in the state to the scene of the attack on Thursday evening.

The governor assured the community that those abducted by the bloodthirsty bandits would return unhurt.

He said he had spoken to the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, on the matter and that security operatives had swung into action in search of the abducted pupils.

Narrating his ordeal during the governor’s visit, Abdullahi said, “I resumed school today (Thursday) at exactly 7:47 am. I entered the acting principal’s office and signed. All of a sudden, the acting principal asked me to look behind my back and when I turned, we discovered that bandits had surrounded the school premises.

“We became confused. We didn’t know where to go. Then, the bandits asked us to enter the bush, so we obeyed them because there were many and the pupils, who were about 700, were following us. So, when we entered the bush, I was lucky to escape alongside many other people.

“So, I returned to the village and reported what happened to the community. So, immediately, our vigilante and personnel of Kaduna State Vigilante Service followed the bandits, but the vigilante did not succeed the bandits killed one of the vigilantes; we just buried him a short while ago.’’

The teacher explained that the vigilantes were making efforts to identify those kidnapped by the bandits.

“It was when we came back from that pursuit that we briefed the village head, and we started making efforts to know the number of pupils and teachers taken away by the bandits.

“At GSS Kuriga, 187 students are presently missing. In the primary school, 125 pupils were initially missing, but, 25 of them escaped and retired home,” he recounted.

He disclosed that “over 280 pupils and teachers were taken away.’’

It was also gathered that the head teacher of the school as well as some other staff members were among those abducted by the hoodlums.

“Shortly after the assembly, the pupils in their hundreds ran out of their classes after sighting the hoodlums in large numbers on the school premises. They ran in different directions,” a resident, Adamu Shehu, told one of our correspondents on the telephone.

Another resident, who spoke on the condition of anonymity explained that the bandits, who wielded dangerous weapons, took their victims into the forest.

A pupil simply identified as Ahmed, who sustained gunshot wounds and was rushed to the Birnin-Gwari General Hospital, was reported dead.

He was said to have died while receiving treatment at the hospital.

It was gathered that a military formation is close to where the incident occurred at Kuriga 1 near the troubled Birnin-Gwari, but in Chikun LGA.

Gov assures residents

Governor Uba Sani visited the community members during his visit to the scene of the attack, and he said his government would ensure that the abducted pupils returned unhurt.

He said, “in my capacity as your elected governor, I am assuring you that by the grace of God, all the children will return unhurt.

“Before coming here, I spoke with the National Security Adviser, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, and we are making efforts, the security forces have swung into action, and by God’s grace, we will rescue the children.’’

But the JNI led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar lll, described the abduction as unfortunate.

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The JNI Secretary-General, Prof. Khalid Abukakar-Aliyu, said the abduction appeared to be an attempt by non-state actors to undermine the efforts of the government to tackle insecurity in the country.

He urged the security agencies to rise to the occasion by using technology in the fight against insurgents and kidnappers.

Amnesty International Nigeria expressed their grief in an X post, stating that no child should have to choose between their education and their life while urging the government to arrest the perpetrators.

“Amnesty International condemns the appalling abduction of 200 primary and secondary school students and their teachers in #Kuriga Kaduna state. We are calling on the Nigerian authorities to safely rescue the students and hold the suspected perpetrators.’’

The National President of the Parent Teacher Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Haruna Danjuma, said, “I show my concern as a father, and I extend my sympathy to the parents of the children.

“As a parent, I want the government of Kaduna, the Federal Government, and the local government area to come together to make sure these innocent children are safe, rescued, and returned to their parents.

“The Governor of Kaduna should be held responsible and make sure these children are rescued. I want to also call on all the security personnel to make sure these children are rescued.”

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