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Nigeria Warns Schools in 14 States at Risk of Kidnappings

Nigeria Warns Schools in 14 States at Risk of Kidnappings

The Nigerian government has identified schools in at least 14 states and the capital, Abuja, as vulnerable to attacks following a renewed wave of mass abductions of students.

Hajia Halima Iliya, the national coordinator of state-run Financing Safe Schools in Nigeria, said the agency had collected data to guide intervention measures.

The agency was formed after the 2014 abduction of hundreds of girls from Chibok in the north-eastern Borno state.

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Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Benue, Yobe, Katsina, Abuja, Kebbi, Sokoto, Plateau and Zamfara are among the most vulnerable states, according to the agency.

This comes amidst a surge in kidnappings in Nigeria.

The country’s spate of abductions worsened on Saturday as more than a dozen students and four women were kidnapped from a school in Gada, Sokoto.

Parents of the kidnapped students have urged the government to help secure their release.

Kidnappings at schools in Nigeria were first carried out by the jihadist group Boko Haram, which seized more than 200 students from a girls’ school in Chibok in Borno state a decade ago, causing global outrage.

But the tactic has since been adopted by criminal gangs without any ideological affiliation seeking ransom payments, authorities say.

Nigeria’s security forces are stretched fighting an Islamist insurgency in the north-east, leaving vast swathes of land unpoliced and armed gangs to roam freely.

In Kaduna, the state governor told the BBC at least 28 of the schoolchildren kidnapped earlier this week had managed to escape their captors.

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