The West African country has seen several mass kidnappings over the years carried out either by bandits or militants, with the latest incidents sparking worries that no school is safe.

Kidnapping is a major problem in Nigeria. 

Armed bandits and militants often carry out mass kidnappings of women and schoolchildren either for political reasons or to demand ransom.

Here are some of the recent kidnapping incidents in the West African country:


February 26: Jangebe raid

Armed gang kidnaps 317 girls from the Government Girls Science Secondary School in the town of Jangebe, in northwestern Zamfara state.

Status: Police and the military launch joint operations to rescue the girls.

February 18: Bus seizure

Gunmen seize 53 passengers including 20 women and nine children from a state-owned bus in Kundu village in Niger state.

Status: They are released four days later. 

February 17: Kagara kidnappings 

Armed gunmen raid the Government Science College in Kagara, a district in the north-central Niger province, killing one student and kidnapping dozens of others – including 24 schoolboys, three teachers and eight relatives of school staff.

Status: Bandits free abductees 10 days later on February 27.

February 15: Niger state bus raid 

Bandits stop a bus in north-central Niger province and abduct at least 21 passengers. At least 10 people are released on February 16. 

Status: There's no clarity on the fate of 11 others.

January 23: Pirates kidnap sailors 

Pirates kill one Azerbaijani and kidnap 15 Turkish sailors after attacking a cargo ship off Nigeria's coast. 

Status: On February 12, Turkey announces rescue of all 15 sailors. 

January 25: Kogi raid 

Gunmen strike Kogi state in central Nigeria and kidnap 14 people. Five people are freed and others are held by the armed gunmen. 

Armed gunmen kidnap 11 people, including eight orphans, in Abuja city. 

Status: It's not known if the ransom demands were met and the kidnapped freed.

January 27: Wedding guests kidnapped 

Armed gunmen kidnap 25 people coming back from a wedding in northeastern Taraba state. 

Status: The kidnapped are rescued on January 31 after a major police operation. 

January 28: Farmer community attacked 

Bandits raid Bassa community in Shiroro area of north-central Niger state, kidnapping at least 50 people. 

Status: There is no clarity on whether they were released or if the ransom was paid. 


December 19: Katsina abductions

Gunmen abduct more than 80 Islamic school students in northwestern Katsina state.

Status: All pupils quickly rescued by security forces after a fierce gun battle.

December 11: Katsina school raid 

More than 100 gunmen on motorcycles storm the all-boys Government Science Secondary School in the town of Kankara, in Katsina state, seizing 344 students.

The attack is initially blamed on armed criminals before Boko Haram –– which operates hundreds of kilometres away –– claims responsibility.

Status: The boys are later released after talks with government officials.

November 2: Borno abductions

Boko Haram insurgent group kills at least 12 people and abducts nine women and young girls in Takulashi village, less than 20 km from Chibok in Borno state. 

Status: The whereabouts of the kidnapped is not known.


February 19: Dapchi schoolgirls kidnapping

On February 19, 2018, the Islamic State West Africa Province, an offshoot of Boko Haram, kidnaps 111 girls from their boarding school in the northeastern Yobe province's Dapchi town.

Militants free more than 100 girls on March 21 after talks with the government. Five of their schoolmates reportedly die in captivity.

Status: The group refuses to free Leah Sharibu, 15 then, the only Christian among the hostages. She still remains in captivity three years on.


April 14: Chibok girls seized

Boko Haram gunmen seize 276 girls aged between 12 and 17 from the Government Girls Secondary School in the remote town of Chibok in northeastern Borno state on April 14. 

The girls are forced from their dormitories onto trucks and driven into the bush. Some 57 manage to flee in a daring escape.

In May 2016, the Nigerian army confirms the first of the schoolgirls is found. 

In October 2016, 21 of the girls are freed following talks brokered by Switzerland and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Local sources say four militant prisoners are freed in return. 

In November 2016, one girl is rescued.

In January 2017, another girl with a baby is found. 

In May 2017, 82 girls are released in exchange for five Boko Haram commanders.

In January 2018, another missing girl is rescued. 

Nigerian army rescues more kidnapped girls in January 2021.

Status: Fate of over 100 young women remains unknown.

READ MORE: Nigeria's kidnapping cartels thrive in the absence of governance

Source: TRTWorld and agencies