ABUJA (Reuters) – Gunmen in Nigeria arrested a negotiator who had been sent to pay a ransom to secure the release of 136 students kidnapped two months ago from an Islamic school in the north of the African nation, said school and parents.
Abubakar Alhassan, director of the Islamic school, said the school and parents negotiated with the kidnappers who demanded 30 million naira ($ 72,993) to release students from the school in Niger state in Nigeria.
Alhassan said the school contributed a ransom and some parents sold property to collect money, but said the negotiator, a 60-year-old man from the community, was taken away because the kidnappers said the ransom he brought was short.
Armed groups have been blamed for a series of raids on schools and universities in northern Nigeria in recent months, kidnapping more than 1,000 students for ransom since December.
The government said it would pay no ransom. President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the security forces to search for the students.
“We sold most of our properties and used our savings to have our children returned. Unfortunately, after all efforts, they said we did not bring the necessary money,” said Ibrahim Salihu, father of two of the abducted children. by the Niger State School.
“We have nothing left and our children are still being held captive,” he said.
Police did not respond to a request for comment.
The kidnappings in Nigeria began with kidnappings by the jihadist group Boko Haram and its branch of the Islamic State in West Africa. Now the criminal gangs have used the tactic.
The kidnappers on Sunday released 28 students arrested at another school, but kept 81 other students.
($ 1 = 411.00 naira)
(Written by Chijioke Ohuocha; edited by Edmund Blair)