Nigeria: Bandits Set Free 15 Baptist Students After Parents Pay Ransom Money

Bandits have reportedly set free 15 students, who were kidnapped last month from a Baptist school in northwest Nigeria.

According to Reuters, the school administrator Reverend John Hayab on Sunday said that parents had raised and paid an undisclosed ransom to free the kids. The released students were among more than 100 who were kidnapped from the Bethel Baptist High School last month.

“The students are already being released and would be handed over to their parents any moment from now,” the school administrator told Reuters.

Hayab had previously said the abductors were seeking 1 million naira per student. The details about how much ransom money the parents paid to the bandits remain unclear.

In July, the bandits had released 28 children from the school following the release of the first group of 28, two days after the raid. Around 80 were in captivity before Sunday’s release.

The school’s administrator said there still are 65 more students with the bandits. He said the government and the school administration are working to free them.

The bandits have long terrorized northwest and central part of Nigeria, looting, kidnapping for ransom, and stealing cattle. They have abducted more than 1,000 students so far from schools in northwest Nigeria for ransom. Most have been released after negotiations. But Kaduna state schools continue to remain shut due to high levels of threat.

There have been mass abductions in the past, including the kidnapping of more than 300 schoolgirls from Chibok village in 2014.

Last week, some motorcycle-riding attackers kidnapped nine pupils of an Islamic seminary in Katsina State.

In February, President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered state governments to stop paying bandits. Kaduna Governor Nasir el-Rufai followed Buhari’s order and refused to pay. But parents of the kidnapped children and communities often raise money and pay ransoms themselves to get back their kins.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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