No One Is Safe

Listen to Today's Edition
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Gunmen kidnapped nearly 300 students from a school in northwestern Nigeria, the latest abduction in the West African county and which underscores its precarious security situation, the Associated Press reported.

Authorities and parents said the kidnapping took place Thursday in the remote town of Kuriga, Kaduna state, known for violent killings, lawlessness and abductions.

Nigerian security forces have launched search operations, but the vast wooded expanses of the region pose challenges to rescue efforts, observers said.

The Kuriga abduction follows a series of recent kidnappings across the country’s north: Just days earlier, 15 children were abducted from a school in Sokoto state, while 200 others, primarily women and children displaced by conflict, were kidnapped in Borno state.

Last month, and armed gang invaded a palace in the north-central Nigerian state of Kwara, killing a traditional monarch and abducting two people, including the king’s wife, Turkey’s Anadolu Agency reported.

While no group has claimed responsibility for the abductions, officials suspect Islamic extremists waging insurgencies in the northwest kidnapped the children. Meanwhile, locals blame herders in conflict with settled communities for the abductions.

In recent years, Nigeria’s northern regions have been plagued by kidnappings perpetrated by armed groups – locally known as “bandits” – and Islamic insurgents fighting against government forces.

More than 1,400 students have been abducted in similar incidents over the past decade. The most infamous incident was the 2014 kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls from the Borno town of Chibok by the Islamic State-affiliate Boko Haram. Nearly 100 of those girls are still being held captive.

Beyond schools, kidnappings have become pervasive across Nigeria, with more than 3,500 abductions reported in the past year alone. The porous borders facilitate the smuggling of arms used in abductions, while armed gangs – often collaborating with insurgents – thrive in ungoverned forests.

Despite legislative efforts to penalize ransom payments, families often succumb to kidnappers’ demands.

Last year, newly-elected President Bola Tinubu pledged to address the security situation and stop the kidnappings.

Even so, analysts said the Nigerian military has become weakened by the years-long Islamist insurgency in the northeast, amid ongoing air raids and special military operations in the region.

Not already a subscriber?

If you would like to receive DailyChatter directly to your inbox each morning, subscribe below with a free two-week trial.

Subscribe today

Support journalism that’s independent, non-partisan, and fair.

If you are a student or faculty with a valid school email, you can sign up for a FREE student subscription or faculty subscription.

Questions? Write to us at

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.

Copy link