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Nigerians protest insecurity following frequent kidnappings

Parents of abducted school children of the Bethel Baptist High School wait for news on their children in Damishi Kaduna, Nigeria, Tuesday July 6, 2021.   -  
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AP Photo/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved


Residents of the Nigerian city of Damishi took to the streets on Thursday to protest lack of security and regular abductions in the northern Kaduna state.

The small group of protesters blocked a street and chanted slogans demanding peace.

One of the protesters said that at least 16 people had been kidnapped the previous day.

Their disappearance came just two days after a group of gunmen stormed the Bethel Baptist High School and abducted 121 students in Nigeria's northwest.

"(People are kidnapped) inside town, not inside the bush. We are still mourning the Bethel school students and now this happened. What is happening? We want the Kaduna state governor to talk to us. We don't want bad government again, nobody wants bad government, we don't want bad government, we don't want them. They should bring back our children", said Habib Lukeman.

As the protesters staged their rally, parents of some of the kidnapped students gathered at the Bethel Baptist High School.

They've been coming there since Monday, the day their children were abducted, to pray and demand justice.

Reverend Joseph Jeremiah is a 54-year old father of a missing 14-year-old Clara.

"Honestly, honestly, when we are talking of pain, we know what it is, what caused it, when you miss one of your family. The way I feel, so many parents are feeling", he said.

A group of gunmen stormed the school in the middle of the night, shooting sporadically as they kidnapped 121 students. Two security guards were killed while battling the kidnappers, officials said.

Principal of the Prelude Comprehensive College in Kaduna city says the security crisis has had a massive impact on pupils’ attendance in his school.

He told the Associated Press that many parents are withholding their children from school out of fear something might happen to them.

"Our (student) population dropped and because of that we had no choice then to lay off some teachers, because the school cannot sustain the gap (between) teachers-student population", Emmanuel Nandang said.

Missing class, however, means these children cannot sit national exams needed to qualify for university or polytechnic admissions, the principal added.

Parents continue to pray to God for the safe return of their children, as school officials urged the parents to call on the government to act ‘’to bring back our children’’.

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