Gunmen abduct more than 100 in Nigeria’s Zamfara state
GABARWE – The number of people being kidnapped in Nigeria has risen to more than 100 for the first time, according to the latest police figures.
Fifty-three kidnapped women were in the news, while 15 men were snatched.
The number of kidnappings in the last three months is higher than at any time since 2013, when the country recorded 93 cases.
In the same period, no less than 595 people were victims of kidnapping in Nigeria.
A federal law officer and a military officer said that the number of kidnappings was still very high but not as high as in 2013, when more than 1,000 victims were taken hostage and held by the jihadist Islamic State, which also claimed responsibility for at least 10 kidnap operations.
The police said they were still working on statistics of kidnappings, and that most of the victims were young women.
“In our database we are looking at 1,057 cases of female kidnapping. They are mostly young girls, some of them only 14 and others 16 years,” Captain Ibrahim Oladapo, police spokesman in Zamfara state, told Arua TV.
The number in 2013 was 1,040.
“We believe that the number of kidnapping is still high because that is where our focus is,” Colonel Jegede Omakayo, spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency, told journalists.
He added that the number of those being held for ransom was probably much higher than in 2013, when most of the victims were held by jihadist groups such as Boko Haram, the Islamic State and Al-Shabab, and were handed over to their families.
Many of the victims were lured into taking part in kidnappings by people they knew, the officer said, adding that many were taken as they returned to their villages to collect their cattle, a cause in which people would rather lose money than pay ransom.
The government has also been trying to arrest the gang leaders behind the kidnapping cases in a bid to find a way to release those held for ransom.
The police spokesman said that so far they had arrested 12 people at large, while others were being monitored for the purpose. The agency is also conducting searches to recover the victims.
Colonel Omakayo said that some