Nigerian kidnappers demand food for scores of school hostages

Damishi Kaduna, Nigeria

Nigerian kidnappers, who abducted more than 100 schoolchildren this week, have demanded food for their captives as security forces stepped up efforts to free the hostages, school officials said on Wednesday.

Heavily armed gangs, known locally as bandits, have long plagued northwest and central Nigeria by looting, stealing cattle and abducting for ransom, but they have increasingly targeted schools and colleges.

Gunmen stormed Bethel Baptist High School in northwestern Kaduna state early on Monday and abducted 121 students while 28 were rescued, school vice principal Wakili Madugu said, in the latest in a string of mass abductions for ransom in the state.

School officials had initially said 140 students were taken while 26, including a teacher, were rescued.

“The kidnappers have made contact with the school and it was confirmed that 121 students were abducted while 28 were rescued and have been released to their parents,” Madugu told AFP.—AFP

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