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Protests follow further civilian abductions in predominantly Christian district in Nigeria

by Premier Journalist

Residents in the Kaduna state capital, Nigeria, have blocked roads in and out of the area in protest, following further abductions in a predominantly Christian district 

Armed gunmen attacked the Ungwan Gimbiya area of Sabon Tasha at around 11pm on 7 July, breaking fences, boring through walls, and prising open security doors before abducting residents. 

Six people were released on the same evening, reportedly due to their health, and the kidnappers are reportedly demanding N180 million for the remaining hostages, as reported by CSW.

On 8 July, Rev David Popoola of Calvary Baptist Church Kaduna was kidnapped at around 11am.  

Travelling in a vehicle across the state, which for the majority is the sole means of transportation, is now extremely hazardous due to an increase in abductions, particularly along the Kaduna-Kachia road. 

Reports are also emerging of an attack on Warkan village in the Zangon Kataf Local Government Area (LGA) in the early hours of 9 July, in which nine people were killed and an unspecified number were injured by suspected Fulani assailants. 

In other news, the assailants who abducted students from Bethel Baptist High School on 5 July have rejected the food items they had demanded from school authorities as a prelude to negotiations for the release of their captives. On 8 July, the abductors had requested the delivery of 10 bags of imported rice, 20 bags of local rice, 20 bags of beans, 10 kegs of palm oil, 10 cartons of Maggi seasoning and two bags of salt by today, 9 July, to ensure the children do not "die of hunger," as state authorities were hindering their ability access to food. 

However, when the school's Vice Principal, Wakili Madugu, informed them that only nine bags of rice, one bag of beans, two cartons of Maggi two kegs of palm oil and a bag of salt had been gathered within the stipulated timeframe, they insulted him and cut communications.

According to the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Umar Muri, 135 students were abducted from Bethel Baptist High School, 28 of whom were rescued, while 107 remain in captivity.

Reverend Yunusa Nmadu, CEO of CSW-N, said in a statement: "The rising levels violence and instability being endured by Nigerian civilians constitute a national emergency.  However, we are yet to see a sense of urgency and the political will on the part of the authorities to formulate and enact the effective and comprehensive security strategy that is needed to stem the kidnappings and attacks on people who are simply trying to get on with normal life as best they can. The fact that kidnappers requested, then rejected food because it was insufficient, implies they do not fear imminent interception. 

"Equally worrying is the report from Katsina that security operatives were initially obliged to retreat due to the superior firepower of assailants who murdered 19 innocent civilians. This situation is an existential threat to Nigeria and risks the stability of the entire region. We continue to call on the Nigerian authorities, both state and federal, to equip and direct the security forces to rescue abductees in a timely manner, including the abducted students; to protect vulnerable communities, and to restores order in Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and throughout the country. We also call on the international community to offer all necessary technical assistance urgently, in order to stem this crisis before it can no longer be salvaged."

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