Residents of the Sabon Tasha district, Kaduna state capital, Nigeria, blocked roads in and out of the area on 8 July in protest, after 15 people were abducted.
Armed gunmen attacked the Ungwan Gimbiya area of Sabon Tasha at around 11pm on 7 July, breaking fences, boring through walls, and prising open security doors before abducting residents. Six people were released on the same evening, reportedly due to their health, and the kidnappers are reportedly demanding N180 million for the remaining hostages. According to a resident who was released, the assailants spoke in a language that she did not understand.
The extension of abductions to this predominantly Christian district within Kaduna metropolis marks a further deterioration in security in Kaduna state, currently an epicentre of kidnapping and banditry, as urban areas were assumed to be safer than rural ones.
On 8 July, Rev David Popoola of Calvary Baptist Church Kaduna was kidnapped at around 11am. Furthermore, travelling in a vehicle across the state, which for the majority is the sole means of transportation, is now extremely hazardous due to an increase in abductions, particularly along the Kaduna-Kachia road. Reports are also emerging of an attack on Warkan village in the Zangon Kataf Local Government Area (LGA) in the early hours of 9 July, in which nine people were killed and an unspecified number were injured by suspected Fulani assailants.
In other news, the assailants who abducted students from Bethel Baptist High School on 5 July have rejected the food items they had demanded from school authorities as a prelude to negotiations for the release of their captives. On 8 July, the abductors had requested the delivery of 10 bags of imported rice, 20 bags of local rice, 20 bags of beans, 10 kegs of palm oil, 10 cartons of Maggi seasoning and two bags of salt by today, 9 July, to ensure the children do not “die of hunger,” as state authorities were hindering their ability access to food. However, when the school’s Vice Principal, Wakili Madugu, informed them that only nine bags of rice, one bag of beans, two cartons of Maggi two kegs of palm oil and a bag of salt had been gathered within the stipulated timeframe, they insulted him and cut communications.
According to the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Umar Muri, 135 students were abducted from Bethel Baptist High School, 28 of whom were rescued, while 107 remain in captivity. He also revealed that Kaduna state has witnessed five attacks on schools so far in 2021, in which 204 students have been abducted and five murdered.
A comprehensive failure in security across the nation is taking a heavy toll on civilians, with observers increasingly describing Nigeria as a failed or failing state.
President Buhari’s home state of Katsina, whose governor recently directed residents to defend themselves against increasingly well-armed attackers and not to rely on the security services, also witnessed significant attacks this week.
On 7 July, armed bandits killed two immigration officers and injured a soldier during a raid on the Kadobe community in Jibia LGA. At least 19 people were killed on the evening of 5 July in Tsauwa village, Batsari LGA in a possible reprisal attack by assailants who stole livestock, set homes on fire, and celebrated by playing music and partying until dawn. A local source informed the Nigerian media house Daily Post that a combined team of security agencies was obliged to retreat and summon reinforcements as it was outnumbered and outgunned by the assailants, who were around 200-strong and had arrived at the village on motorcycles. In Zamfara state, 26 people were killed and seven others injured on 8 July in attacks on Gidan Dawa, Gidan Adamu and Wari villages in the Faru ward of Maradun LGA, which reportedly targeted relatives of local vigilantes.
Reverend Yunusa Nmadu, CEO of CSW-N, said: “The rising levels violence and instability being endured by Nigerian civilians constitute a national emergency. However, we are yet to see a sense of urgency and the political will on the part of the authorities to formulate and enact the effective and comprehensive security strategy that is needed to stem the kidnappings and attacks on people who are simply trying to get on with normal life as best they can. The fact that kidnappers requested, then rejected food because it was insufficient, implies they do not fear imminent interception. Equally worrying is the report from Katsina that security operatives were initially obliged to retreat due to the superior firepower of assailants who murdered 19 innocent civilians. This situation is an existential threat to Nigeria and risks the stability of the entire region. We continue to call on the Nigerian authorities, both state and federal, to equip and direct the security forces to rescue abductees in a timely manner, including the abducted students; to protect vulnerable communities, and to restores order in Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and throughout the country. We also call on the international community to offer all necessary technical assistance urgently, in order to stem this crisis before it can no longer be salvaged.”