Kidnappers in Nigeria demand ransom for the release of 80 school children

KADUNA, Nigeria, Aug. 3 (Reuters) – Kidnappers are demanding a million naira ransom to free about 80 children kidnapped from boarding school in northern Nigeria last month, according to a pastor who is negotiating their release was involved.

The attack on Bethel Baptist High School in Kaduna state was the tenth mass kidnapping in a school in northwestern Nigeria since December that the authorities attribute to ransom demands by criminal gangs.

“(Bandits) charge one million naira for each of the 80 students who stay with them,” Reverend Ite Joseph Hayab told Reuters over the phone.

Kidnappers released 28 children last month after an initial group of 28 were released two days after the raid. But another 81 remain in captivity. Continue reading

Hayab said three students fled before the 28 were released last month, but they were kidnapped again by an unidentified person in the forest who requested a ransom and was paid over a million naira by their parents.

The Nigerian authorities have attributed the kidnappings to so-called armed bandits demanding ransom.

Schools in northern Nigeria have been the target of mass ransom kidnappings by armed groups. Such kidnappings in Nigeria were carried out first by the Boko Haram jihadist group and later by its branch of the Islamic State Province in West Africa, but the tactic has since been adopted by other criminal gangs.

($ 1 = 411.00 naira)

Reporting by Garba Muhammad letter from Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Sandra Maler

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