Gunmen who kidnapped 287 school children in Nigeria say they will kill them all if $622,000 ransom not paid

Gunmen who kidnapped at least 287 school children in Nigeria last Thursday have demanded a ransom of 1 billion naira ($621,848) and threatened to kill all of the students if their demands are not met, a member of the local community told CNN on Wednesday.

“They called me from a hidden number yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon at around 16 minutes past 12, and demanded 1 billion naira ($621,848) as a ransom for the students. They said [the ultimatum] will only last for three weeks or 20 days from the date they kidnapped the children and if there’s no action from the government, they will kill all of them,” said Aminu Jibril, a resident of Kuriga village, in Kaduna state, where the school is located.

The children were kidnapped on March 7.

Jibril also told CNN that the perpetrators said the kidnapping was “a way of getting back at the government and security agencies for killing their gang members.”

The member of the Kuriga community said he believed the kidnappers got his number from the head of the school’s junior secondary section, who was kidnapped alongside the students.

More than 300 students were taken early Thursday morning by armed bandits on motorcycles who stormed the LEA Primary and Secondary School in Kuriga village, in Kaduna’s Chikun district, the state’s police spokesman Mansur Hassan told CNN on Friday.

Some of the students were rescued but 287 of them remain with the kidnappers. About 100 of them are from the primary school and the rest from the secondary school.

The Kaduna Governor Uba Sani said in a statement Thursday that his government was “doing everything possible to ensure the safe return of the pupils and students.”

Sani also said a member of the community who confronted the abductors during the attack was killed.

Kaduna state, which borders the Nigerian capital Abuja to the southwest, has grappled with recurring incidents of kidnappings for ransom by bandits and has witnessed several mass abductions in recent years, including in the district where the LEA Primary and Secondary School is located.

In 2021, at least 140 students were kidnapped by armed men from a private secondary school.

The incident came just months after around 20 students from a private university in Chikun’s Kasarami village were abducted by gunmen.

Five of those students were killed after a ransom deadline was not met, family members told CNN at the time.

Source: CNN

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