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Anger grows over insecurity in northern Nigeria after kidnaps

GlobalDec 17, 2020 14:42
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* More than 300 boys abducted from a school last week
* Islamist militants claim responsibility in audiotape
* Parents fear time running out to bring the boys home

By Afolabi Sotunde and Ismail Abba
KATSINA, Nigeria, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Protesters marched in
northwestern Nigeria on Thursday under a banner reading
#BringBackOurBoys as pressure mounted on the government to
improve security in the region and secure the release of more
than 300 kidnapped boys.
Parents fear time is running out to bring the boys home. The
Islamist group Boko Haram, which said in an unverified audio
message that it was behind their abduction from a school on Dec.
11, has a history of turning captives into jihadist fighters.
Dozens of people attended a march through the city of
Katsina in response to The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), a
civil society body that focuses on the welfare of northern
Nigerians. Some chanted "Save northern Nigeria".
The hashtag #BringBackOurBoys has been trending on Twitter
in recent days and echoes a campaign that was launched to bring
home more than 200 girls abducted by Boko Haram in 2014.
"Northern Nigeria has been abandoned at the mercy of vicious
insurgents, bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, rapists and an
assortment of hardened criminals," said Balarabe Ruffin, CNG's
national coordinator.
He said there was a "huge vacuum in the political will and
capacity of government to challenge" the kidnappers, who
abducted the boys from the all-boys Government Science secondary
school in the town of Kankara in Katsina state. Around 320 boys are still missing, the Katsina state
government has said.
If Boko Haram's claim of responsibility is confirmed, it
would mark an expansion beyond its northeastern base.
Late on Wednesday, Katsina state Governor Aminu Bello Masari
told the BBC Hausa service the missing boys were in the forests
of neighbouring Zamfara state.
An aide to Masari said soldiers and intelligence officers
had been combing the Rugu forest, which stretches across
Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna and Niger states, in search of the
boys.
Regional security experts say the boys could be taken over
the nearby border into Niger, which would make finding them
harder. Armed gangs that rob and kidnap for ransom, widely referred
to as "bandits", carry out attacks on communities across the
northwest, making it hard for locals to farm, travel or tap rich
mineral assets in some states such as gold.
Criminal gangs operating in the northwest have killed more
than 1,100 people in the first half of 2020 alone, according to
rights group Amnesty International. In the northeast, Boko Haram and its offshoot, Islamic State
West Africa Province, have waged a decade-long insurgency
estimated to have displaced about 2 million people and killed
more than 30,000. They want to create states based on their
extreme interpretation of sharia law. <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
FACTBOX-What is Boko Haram? violence and insecurity affecting Nigeria
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>
(Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

Anger grows over insecurity in northern Nigeria after kidnaps
 

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