Northern Nigeria Students Kidnapped After State Restrictions
(Bloomberg) -- More than 70 students in northern Nigeria were abducted from their school after four states in the region imposed restrictions on movement and commerce to curb such attacks.
Gunmen kidnapped 73 children in Zamfara state in the middle of the day on Wednesday, a police spokesman said in a statement. Organized criminal groups have seized hundreds of students in a spate of similar school invasions that have occurred across northern Nigeria since late last year.
The latest mass kidnapping comes immediately after four states in the north of Nigeria introduced measures designed to tackle escalating attacks that have disrupted economic activities and displaced thousands of people.
Niger and Kaduna, states near the capital city of Abuja, and Zamfara, further north, are suspending weekly markets, while the northwestern state of Katsina banned the trucking of cattle out of the state and the trade in livestock. All four states are also limiting the sale of gasoline and the use of motorcycles. Nigeria comprises of 36 states.
Following the attack, Sokoto, which neighbors Zamfara, announced a nighttime curfew for motorcycle taxis, shut down livestock markets and forbid the transportation of cattle.
Security forces in Africa’s largest economy have struggled to stem attacks by criminal groups held responsible for attacking and robbing communities, as well as an uptick in the kidnapping of students and farmers in exchange for ransom. Rising insecurity has worsened the unemployment rate, which stood at 33.3% of the national workforce in December, and contributed to the acceleration of food inflation to 21% in July.
The disruption is necessary to tackle the “carnage and mayhem bandits and kidnappers are causing,” Ahmed Matane, secretary to the Niger state government, said in a statement Wednesday. In a separate statement, Zamfara Governor Bello Matawalle warned that failure to comply with the rules could lead to “being shot at by security operatives.”
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