Gunmen kidnap Nigerian school children, demand USD 130,000
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Last Updated: Tuesday, September 28, 2010, 21:56
  
Abuja: Gunmen have hijacked a school-bus with 15-children on-board in a south-eastern state in Nigeria today demanded a ransom of USD 130,000 for their release, a police official has said.

"The children numbering 15 were abducted in Abia state on Monday and the kidnappers are demanding for a ransom of 20 million naira (USD 130,000)," the Abia State police spokesman, Geoffrey Ogbonna, told PTI adding that the kidnappers contacted the owners of the school to make their demand.

The bus conveying the school children was intercepted by the assailants on its way to school and the driver was ordered to come down and lie on the ground after switching off his phones, PTI learnt from some eyewitnesses.

The kidnappers then drove the bus towards neighbouring rivers state also in the oil rich Niger Delta region of the country.

Kidnappings in the region have become widespread in recent times with ransom demanded by the abductors before the victims are set free.

The abductors of the children may have reasoned that they are mostly children of the elite before taking the action or on the other hand, they may want the school owners to pay from fees collected from the children.

Many of the assailants are suspected to be militants who have fought for resource control in the region for a decade now but local unemployed youth are also involved in the crime.

For many years, militants engaged in oil war in the region claiming to seek for resource control.

They also cite environmental degradation and infrastructural neglect as reasons for their violent activities which include kidnapping and requesting for ransom before the victim's release.

An amnesty programme by the African country’s government in which the militants exchanged their arms for some monetary compensation was delayed due to the ill health of former President Umaru Musa Yar' Adua who died in May.

His successor President Goodluck Jonathan promised to carry on with the amnesty and recently brought in some foreigners to train the militants to become useful members of the society.

Elections are billed for early next year and analysts are predicting a situation where political adversaries might use abductions to settle scores.

PTI


First Published: Tuesday, September 28, 2010, 21:56


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