Hundreds of Children Abducted from Nigerian School. Is Nigeria a failed state?

Image: Rally in Lagos for Rescue of Abducted Nigerian Girls by United Nations Photo is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The NY Times reported another kidnapping in northern Nigeria this past Friday. Armed men abducted 317 girls from the Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe, in Zamfara state. One police officer was killed during the attack.

This is the second mass abduction in as many weeks and part of an alarming trend going back to 2014. When the violent extremist organization (VEO) Boko Haram abducted 276 girls from a school in Chibok, in Borno state.

The current abduction is troubling beyond the kidnapping of students. This particular school was supposedly under the protection of the Nigerian military. The kidnappers attacked the troops as part of a diversion to allow the kidnapping to occur. Additionally, it’s no longer just Boko Haram carrying out the abductions but organized criminal gangs (locally known as bandits) that may work on behalf of Boko Haram or just be copying their tactics for another revenue stream. Either scenario furthers the VEO’s stated goal to end Western-style education in Nigeria.

It seems to be having the intended effect. Yesterday, the Governor in Yobe state ordered all boarding schools closed until further notice.

The government’s inability to protect schools is part of a growing list of state security failures.

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By Adam Ragozzino

Adam Ragozzino is a Boston-based analyst who has worked as a research and policy analyst in the US. Currently, he is an independent consultant and runs Acies Lumen, LLC, a fledgling geopolitical research firm. He writes about international affairs and conflict with a particular focus on Africa. When not chained to a desk or under lockdown, you can find him riding or skiing in the northeast US.

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