Nigeria: Bandits Release 15 Abducted Bethel Baptist Students

Parents of 15 kidnapped Bethel Baptist Secondary Schools students have secured their release according to recent reports.

School administrator Reverend John Hayab told Reuters news agency on Sunday that parents had raised and paid an undisclosed ransom to free the students, who were among more than 100 taken on July 5 from the Bethel Baptist High School in Kaduna State.

Hayab had previously told reporters that the bandits were seeking 1 million naira ($2,430) per student.

So far, 56 of the kidnapped Bethel students have been released or escaped from their abductors.

“We still have 65 more of our students with the bandits and we are working to see they can be freed,” according to Hayab.

The Bethel abduction was part of a string of kidnappings by armed gangs known locally as bandits who have long terrorised northwest and central Nigeria, looting, stealing cattle and kidnapping for ransom.

Bandits have targeted schools since the beginning of the year and have abducted no less than 1000 students. While most have been released after negotiations between mostly the parents and the armed group, many others remain captive, including more than 136 children abducted in June from an Islamic seminary in Tegina in central Niger State, four of whom have died in captivity.

On Friday, the gangs asked the seminary to send clothing for the schoolchildren who have been in the same clothes for months, according to one of the parents.

“They phoned the head of the school and told him to ask parents to send the children new clothes as the ones they have been wearing are in shreds,” Maryam Mohammed, whose seven

Last week, nine pupils of an Islamic seminary were also seized by motorcycle-riding attackers in Katsina State, the second such incident in as many months.

Patsy Nwogu

Reporting on data-driven featured stories and investigations.

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