Gunmen kidnap Nigerian school children, demand USD 130,000

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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