Hope for Nigeria’s Kidnapped Schoolchildren Diminishes as Ransom Demand Increases


Militants who last week abducted 286 schoolchildren and staff in northern Nigeria have demanded a total of 1 billion naira (Sh89,368,184) for their release, Jubril Aminu, the local counselor who acts as a spokesman for the families of the hostages told media.

“They made a total of a 1 billion [naira] ransom demand for all the pupils, students and staff of the school,” he said, as quoted by media.

The spokesman added that the militants have issued an ultimatum to pay the ransom within 20 days of the March 7 kidnapping, or they will kill all the students and staff.

Another local official, Idris Ibrahim, an elected official from the Kuriga Ward municipal council, told the media that the militants were making demand calls from an unauthorized number, but authorities were working to identify it.

Nigeria’s Minister of Information, Mohammed Idris, told journalists a day earlier that President Bola Tinubu favored that security forces secure the release of the hostages without paying the kidnappers.

Nigeria has recently experienced security problems, with sporadic attacks and kidnappings by Islamic extremists.

On Monday, 61 people were abducted in an attack by gunmen on Budu, a community in Kaduna State. The abductees included women, children and a nursing mother, according to the locals.

In Nigeria, the terrorist group Boko Haram, which has been active in the West African country since 2002, has been known to kidnap and kill people. In March 2015, Boko Haram pledged allegiance to the terrorist group Daesh and changed its name to the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). In 2016, however, Boko Haram redefined itself as a separate group.

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