In the early morning hours of February 17, 2021, at 2 am, students and teachers woke up to gunshots as gunmen stormed Government Science College in the town of Kagara in northern Nigeria’s Niger State. Initial reports indicated that hundreds might have been taken, but after another tally later that total was reduced to 42 out of 650 students who were in the school when it was attacked.
Late Sunday evening the governor of Niger state, Abubakar Sani Bello, confirmed on Twitter that the government is “currently doing all that we can to secure the release of abducted students of GSC, Kagara and return them safely to their parents.”
His statement comes after he announced the release of 53 bus passengers who were kidnapped in a separate event earlier in the week from a state-owned bus in Kundu village, also in Niger State.
So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the kidnappings. However, criminal gangs, also referred to as bandits, are believed to be behind the attack.
Jo Newhouse*, spokesperson for Open Doors’ work in sub-Saharan Africa explained that both kidnapping of Christians and moderate Muslim civilians by Islamic radicals, as well as kidnapping for ransom by bandits, are endemic to northern Nigeria,” said “They have become nearly everyday occurrences.
In a prepared statement, the spokesperson for Niger’s Governor, acknowledged the increasing frequency of what has become a constant threat—and fear. “We are witnessing these attacks now, almost, on daily basis and it is worrisome,” she said.