CSW - everyone free to believe


CSW deeply concerned at resurgence of mass abductions in central and northern Nigeria

8 Mar 2024

CSW is deeply concerned at the resurgence in mass abductions by terrorist insurgencies in central and northern Nigeria.

On 7 March 287 children were abducted from the Government School in Kuriga in the Chikun Local Government Area (LGA) of Kaduna state by terrorists armed with AK-47s, who descended on the premises as classes were about to commence. 187 of the abductees are secondary school students, while 125 are in primary school. Twenty-five other primary school students who were seized managed to escape their captors.

A teacher who also managed to escape described the events to Nigerian media: ‘When I turned, we discovered that the school premises was surrounded by bandits. We became confused; we didn’t know where to go. Then, the bandits asked us to enter the bush, so we obeyed them because there were many, and the pupils, about 700, were following us. So, when we entered the bush, I was lucky to escape alongside many others.’

Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna State, who visited the area alongside senior government officials after the abductions occurred, assured the local community the children would be rescued, and that ‘no child will be left behind.’

Under the governor’s predecessor Kaduna became one of the three most insecure states in the country. Chikun LGA, where the Kuriga community is located shares a border with Birnin Gwari LGA, which is one of several hotbeds of terrorist activity in Kaduna state.

CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: ‘We are alarmed by the scale of the latest abductions in Kaduna State. It is deeply disturbing that, once again, children simply seeking an education are being treated as commodities to be seized en masse and bartered. We are particularly concerned by reports indicating the school is unfenced and located in an open field, rendering it particularly vulnerable to such attacks. We therefore appeal to the Nigerian authorities to fully implement the Safe Schools Initiative, extending it beyond the northeast to vulnerable communities throughout the country. While the visit to the school by the new governor is a welcome change from the previous administration, we appeal to him to follow through with his assurances by ensuring the swift and safe return of these students.’

Meanwhile in Borno State, around 200 women and girls were abducted on 4 March by members of the Boko Haram terrorist faction following attacks on three Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in Ngala Town, Gamboru Ngala LGA. The town is located close to Nigeria’s border with Cameroon, where the terrorist faction frequently operates. The terrorists reportedly also set fire to shelters in GDSS IDP Camp Shuwari in Mafa LGA and homes and properties worth millions of naira in Ajari Town of Damboa LGA.

In a statement released following the latest abductions, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Mohammed Fall, expressed his solidarity with the families and communities of the abductees, and urged their captors to release them unharmed. He also noted that the incident occurred in the run up to the commemoration of International Women’s Day on 8 March, serving as ‘a stark reminder that women and girls are among those most affected by conflict.’

Abductions by Boko Haram have continued unabated since 2014, when 270 schoolgirls were seized from their dormitory in Chibok Town, 217 of whom were members of the Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). In August 2023 the terrorist faction reportedly released at least 48 women who had been abducted from their farmlands in  Maiwa and Shuwarin Villages in Mafa LGA, Borno State, following ransom payments.

Mr Thomas continued: ‘For over a decade terrorist groups, including a militia comprising assailants primarily of Fulani ethnicity, have been able to conduct violent attacks and abductions for ransom across Nigeria on an almost daily basis while eliciting a wholly inadequate response from the authorities. We therefore urge the current federal administration to become far more proactive in addressing Nigeria’s critical security situation by sufficiently resourcing and mandating the armed forces to tackle every insurgency, to liberate all who remain in terrorist captivity, and most crucially, to ensure protection for schools and vulnerable communities.’



Sign up for updates on the work of CSW

* mandatory fields

By signing up you will receive news about CSW's work and how you can support it. You can unsubscribe at any time.

#2 CSW manifesto

We believe no one should suffer discrimination, harassment or persecution because of their beliefs