An operation to rescue the 300 schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria had failed to locate them last Friday, 24 hours after the raid on their school by armed men.
The raid in Zamfara State, where all boarding schools had to close immediately, is the second such kidnapping in just over a week in the northwestern part of the country, an area increasingly targeted by criminal organizations.
There are reports that they have been moved to a nearby forest, and we are following them and exercising caution (…) The information I have indicates that they came with vehicles and moved the students. They have also moved them on footAbutu Yaro – Police Commissioner of Zamfara
Kidnappings from schools were first perpetrated by Boko Haram jihadist groups and the Islamic state of West Africa province, but have become endemic in the increasingly lawless north of the country, causing anguish in the hearts of families and frustration for the Nigerian government and armed forces.
Although the government denies making payments, the increase in kidnappings may be due to the large sums of money the government paid in exchange for the children taken hostage, officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. All of this is helping to catalyze a further deterioration in security in the north.
President Muhammadu Buhari reiterated Friday that he would not succumb to blackmail by criminal organizations. In a statement released late Friday, he also called on state administrations not to reward bandits with money or vehicles.