Emir And His Family Abducted In Nigeria’s Kaduna, As Kidnappers Upgrade From Taking Children
On July 11th, unidentified gunmen kidnapped an emir and 10 members of his family in northwest Nigeria’s Kaduna state, police said.
Police and members of Nigeria’s army are currently engaged in a search and rescue mission in a forest close to where the Chief of Kajuru, 83-year-old Alhaji Alhassan Adamu, was kidnapped.
Adamu’s abduction marked the first time such a high-profile victim had been kidnapped in the state.
In a statement, Kaduna State Police Command said the incident occured when “armed bandits in large numbers invaded Kajuru town” in the early hours of the morning, “shot sporadically” and “gained access to the Chief’s residence where they abducted him and 10 members of his immediate family [before taking them] to an unknown destination.”
Saidu Musa, who is a grandson of the emir, said the gunmen kidnapped 12 members of Adamu’s family, a different number of hostages than that given by local authorities.
“The gunmen forced their way into the palace around 12:30 a.m. (2130 UTC) and took away His Highness and 12 family members,” French news agency AFP cited Musa as saying.
A palace source said Adamu knew a kidnapping was being planned.
“He summoned a security meeting yesterday where he informed security personnel of plans to abduct him but they did not take the threat seriously,” AFP cited the source as saying.
Emirs, though they have no political authority, are typically revered in northern Nigeria as custodians of Islam and tradition. They generally act as a link between civilians and government, as well as peace makers in times of crisis.
Kaduna has recently become a target for kidnapping-for-ransom gangs, abduction of students from schools and travelers on highways.
“The Command is saddened [by] this incident and it’s not relenting in ensuring a lasting solution to the current upsurge of criminality in the state,” Kaduna police said in the statement.
On July 5th, gunmen abducted more than 100 students from a boarding school in northwestern Nigeria.
A school official told AFP that the number of students abducted was 140.
“The kidnappers took away 140 students, only 25 students escaped. We still have no idea where the students were taken,” said Emmanuel Paul, a teacher at the Bethel Baptist High School in Kaduna state where the kidnapping happened.
Earlier, kidnappers returned several students and two school officers from Kaduna states after a ransom was paid.
Gunmen attacked the main campus of the Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic in Kaduna on June 10th and took students and staff members, in the process killing one student.
The college’s spokesman Abdullahi Shehu, said the students and officials were released late on Thursday at an undisclosed location.
They “regained their freedom after their parents and relatives negotiated with the bandits”, Shehu said.
Criminal gangs often loot villages, steal cattle and carry out abductions for ransom in northwestern and central Nigeria. However, since the start of the year, bandits have increasingly targeted schools and colleges.
The governor of Kaduna, Nasir El Rufai, said in an interview with the BBC that kidnappers come in from other states.
It is estimated that more than 800 students have been abducted since December in northern Nigeria. At least 150 remain missing.
Mass abductions from schools in Nigeria have grown more common since 2014 when Boko Haram rebels kidnaped 276 female students from a government school in Chibok in northeastern Borno state.
As such, the kidnapping of the emir is the highest-profile crime of this sort by bandits.
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