Northern Nigeria state suspends schools due to insecurity


FILE PHOTO: Pieces of furniture are seen inside a classroom at Bethel Baptist High School where unspecified number of student were kidnapped at Damishi, Kaduna, Nigeria July 7, 2021. REUTERS/Bosan Yakusak

KADUNA, Nigeria (Reuters) - The northern Nigerian state of Kaduna has suspended all schooling due to insecurity, state officials said on Monday, amid a spate of student kidnappings in the region that has rocked Africa's most populous country.

"We have asked students to stay away for three weeks, after which in the third week we will review the situation and get across to the public and the students," said Mohammed Makarfi, Kaduna state's commissioner of education, by phone.

The state had already imposed a three-week suspension on schooling that expired on Sunday, said another official who asked not to be named because he was not authorised to speak to media.

"The directive of the governor to extend the suspension of resumption till further notice is to ensure the safety of students in all schools," said the official.

On Sunday, kidnappers who raided a boarding school earlier this month released 28 children, though another 81 remain in captivity, said a pastor involved in the negotiations.

The attack on the Bethel Baptist High School in Kaduna was the 10th mass school kidnapping since December in northwest Nigeria, which authorities have attributed to criminal gangs seeking ransom payments.

(Reporting by Garba Muhammed in Kaduna; Writing by Paul Carsten; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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