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St Andrews
St Andrews

Tag: Nigeria

Nigerian troops close in on kidnappers after school attack

The #BringBackOurBoys is trending on social media in Nigeria following the latest attack and mass kidnapping at a school.  More than 300 pupils are still missing on Monday morning after gunmen attacked the secondary school in Kankara, a town in Nigeria’s northwestern Katsina state.

Attackers on motorcycles stormed the all-boys government science school late on Friday and started a gunfight with security forces.  Hundreds of pupils scaled fences and ran into the surrounding forest.

Anxious parents are waiting for news of their children’s whereabouts as search and rescue operations continue.

The government said troops had surrounded an area in Katsina where gunmen were believed to be holding schoolchildren hostage.  President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman Garba Shehu said 10 children were reportedly being held captive while more than 300 boys remained unaccounted for.

It’s understood the attackers are trying to secure ransoms.  The government has blamed the attack on bandits – a loose term for gangs operating in the area.  International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor said she was hopeful the boys would be found unharmed.

“We sincerely hope that the early successes of the Nigerian government have indicated will identify some of the kidnappers and this will lead to the return of those children.”

This latest attack comes just six years after 276 girls were kidnapped from their Chibob dormitory.  At the time, the hashtag #BringBackourGirls was circulated widely around the world.  However, about 100 of those girls are still missing.

Lagos Protests end in Deadly Shooting

On Tuesday, gunmen opened fire on a crowd of protesters  in Lagos, Nigeria. Amnesty International blamed security forces for the shooting. No deaths were reported but several victims have been hospitalized and treated. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Lagos state governer, claimed that 25 people were wounded, of which two required intensive care.

Governor Sanwo-Olu took to Twitter on Wednesday and posted several pictures of himself visiting victims in hospital early this morning. “This is the toughest night of our lives as forces beyond our direct control have moved to make dark notes in our history. I recognise the buck stops at my table and I will work with the FG (federal government) to get to the root of this unfortunate incident,” he Tweeted. The Nigerian army however did not issue a direct statement but also used Twitter as a platform, saying that reports of soldiers shooting protesters are “fake news”.

Protests against police brutality have been spiralling out of control in the city. The hated Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) is at the center of allegations of uncontrolled police brutality. Sanwo-Olu announced a curfew from Tuesday afternoon in an attempt to stop the protests. The chief of police also ordered anti-riot units to deploy.

Meanwhile, US Presidential candidate Joe Biden urged the Nigerian president and military to “Cease the violent crackdown on proteters in Nigeria.” In his statement Biden said: ” The United States must stand with Nigerians who are peacefully demonstrating for police reform and seeking an end to corruption in their democracy. I encourage the government to engage in a good-faith dialogue with civil society to address these long-standing grievances and work together for a more just and inclusive Nigeria.”

 

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