80 are taken hostage by gunmen in northwest Nigeria including children
80 are taken hostage by gunmen in northwest Nigeria including children

Bauchi: Residents of Nigeria's Zamfara state, a hotspot for kidnappings for ransom by armed gangs targeting remote villages, reported on Saturday that at least 80 people had been abducted, mostly women and children.

In recent years, armed gangs have attacked numerous local communities throughout northwest Nigeria, while Islamist militants have continued to carry out attacks in the northeast.

According to three locals, the most recent kidnapping occurred on Friday in the Zamfara village of Wanzamai in the Tsafe local government area. One of the states most impacted by kidnappings is Zamfara.

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Children and women from the village were clearing land for farming and gathering firewood when they were taken by gunmen and marched into a nearby forest, according to Musa Usman, whose 14-year-old son Ibrahim was among those taken.

Usman told Reuters by phone: "The children from different households went to collect firewood and some of them were going to farms in search of manual labour when they were abducted."

In a statement, Mohammed Shehu, a spokesman for the Zamfara police, confirmed the incident, but he did not specify how many people were kidnapped. He claimed that in order to save the victims, the police were collaborating with the military and neighbourhood security guards.

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Another parent, Haruna Noma, claimed that some of those taken were from the close-by villages of Kucheri and Danwuri who had travelled to Wanzamai to clear land for farming.

The locals claimed that the gunmen had not yet demanded a ransom.
According to Amina Tsafe, her daughter was also kidnapped, and the majority of the kids who were taken ranged in age from 12 to 17.

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If a ransom is not paid, kidnappers in Nigeria frequently keep their victims for months while also demanding that the villagers pay protection fees so they can continue to farm and harvest their crops. The Nigerian military has been bombing armed gangs' bush camps, but the attacks have persisted.

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