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Kuriga: Kidnappers demand N1bn for release of student hostages

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Bandits went on a killing spree in Northern Nigeria

Gunmen who abducted 286 students and staff from Kuriga, Kaduna State last week have demanded a ransom of N1 billion ($620,432) in exchange for their release, according to a spokesman for the hostages’ families and a local politician.

On March 7, the schoolchildren, some older pupils, and school staff were taken in Kuriga, in Nigeria’s northeastern Kaduna State, in the country’s first mass kidnapping in 2024.

Jubril Aminu, a community leader and representative for the hostages’ relatives, told Reuters that he received a phone call from the kidnappers on Tuesday.

“They made a total of a 1 billion (naira) ransom demand for all the pupils, students and staff of the school,” Aminu said.

“They gave an ultimatum to pay the ransom within 20 days, effective from the date of the kidnap. They said they will kill all the students and the staff if the ransom demand is not met.”

Idris Ibrahim, an elected official from the Kuriga Ward municipal council, confirmed the ransom demand and the amount.

“Yes, the kidnappers called the community through Jubril Aminu’s number and made the demand,” he said.

“They called from a hidden number but the authorities are working on getting the number,” Ibrahim told Reuters.

He added that the security forces were taking “adequate measures” to secure the release of the students.

Samuel Aruwan, commissioner of internal security and home affairs in Kaduna State, did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment about the kidnappers’ demands.

Spokespersons for President Bola Tinubu and the army also did not respond to requests for comment.

The country’s information minister, Mohammed Idris, told reporters on Wednesday that Tinubu’s position on the kidnappings in Kuriga was that security forces should secure the hostages’ release without any payment to the kidnappers.

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