News & Current Affairs

Bandits in Zamfara Break Into Hostels, Abduct Female Students

By Azeezat Okunlola | Sep 22, 2023

Over 24 students, mostly women, from the Federal University of Gusau were abducted by armed bandits on Friday at about 3 a.m. Students at the university claimed on social media that the gunmen came from the Sabon-Gida community in Zamfara's Bungudu Local Government Area.

The armed men stormed at least three student hostels and abducted students inside. At least two female students were reported kidnapped from the university in April of this year by armed men who were later identified as bandits.

Bandits who kidnap people in exchange for money have long found Zamfara to be a fertile territory. Many have pointed fingers at the illegal miners in the country as the source of the turmoil.

In just the last three months of 2022, 1,090 abductions were recorded.

“Virtually everyone in Zamfara knows somebody who has been kidnapped,” Buhari Moriki, a community development worker, told The New Humanitarian. “Either they’ve been a victim themselves, or they can tell a story.”

The gangs have become a constant threat. Some of the hardest-hit communities, who pay protection money to the bandits to avoid being raided, have started turning to more formal peace deals, negotiated directly with local warlords. These arrangements sideline a weak state government, but the authorities still give them their quiet consent. Former president Muhammadu Buhari took action by declaring a no-fly zone over certain high-risk regions of the state.