Zamfara state govt in talks with kidnappers of 317 Nigerian schoolgirls - officials


FILE PHOTO: A bicycle is seen inside the premises of JSS Jangebe school, a day after over 300 school girls were abducted by bandits, in Zamfara, Nigeria February 27, 2021. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

MAIDUGRI (Reuters) - Officials in Nigeria's Zamfara state are in touch with the gunmen who abducted 317 schoolgirls last week and are negotiating their release, two state officials told Reuters on Monday.

The armed men took the girls from a boarding school in the increasingly lawless northwestern part of Nigeria early on Feb. 26, the region's second school kidnapping in a week.

Zamfara Information Commissioner Sulaiman Tanau Anka told Reuters via phone that officials knew where the girls were being held and who had them, but would not send in armed security forces for fear of harming the girls.

Education Commissioner Ibrahim Abdullahi confirmed the talks.

"Negotiations at high level (are) ongoing and we are hoping for a favourable outcome very soon," Abdullahi said.

Zamfara police have worked alongside the army in a search-and-rescue operation since Friday, after the students were taken from the Government Girls Science Secondary School in the town of Jangebe.

Anka added that "repentant" bandits who had participated in a state government amnesty programme were serving as interlocutors between the kidnappers and the government.

"Bandit" is a catch-all term for groups of armed men who kidnap for ransom, raid villages and russle cattle, rather than for any ideological or political aim.

On Sunday, two Reuters' correspondents saw a heavy military presence in Zamfara state capital Gusau, with army trucks moving in convoy and police checkpoints on major roads.

Schools in the region have become targets for mass kidnappings for ransom. Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday urged state governments not to reward bandits with money or vehicles. Zamfara's governor ordered all boarding schools to close immediately after the kidnapping.

(Reporting By Maiduguri newsroom, additional reporting by Ardo Hazzad in Bauchi, writing by Libby George; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Next In World

Argentine tensions erupt over coronavirus lockdowns as cases spike
With eyes on Russia, senators seek to prevent any U.S. president from leaving NATO
Ukraine's Zelenskiy to hold talks with Merkel, Macron about Russia standoff
U.S. has ability to keep eye on any resurgence of al Qaeda in Afghanistan: White House
Biden, South Korea's Moon to meet at White House in May
Canada's main opposition party changes climate change tack, backs carbon pricing
As French COVID toll hits grim milestone, a bereaved family mourns
Factbox: Details of funeral service planned for Britain's Prince Philip
European Parliament gives initial backing to UK trade deal
Pandemic deters thieves, fuels domestic violence, German police say

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers