Armed men stormed her school in a kidnapping raid. Then she found her family in her captors' hideout
April 26, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
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Habiba Iliyasu was asleep in her school dormitory in northwestern Nigeria when a group of armed men burst in and abducted her. When she was taken to the kidnapper's hideout, she saw two people she recognized instantly -- her father and her sister.
(CNN)Habiba Iliyasu, 15, was asleep in her school dormitory in northwestern Nigeria when a group of armed men burst in and ordered her and her schoolmates out of bed.
When they got to the kidnapper's hideout, Habiba saw two people she recognized instantly -- her father Iliyasu Magaji, 65, and her sister, Raliya Gusaram, 33.
Her elder sister was in the forest with her two children Isah, 4, and Rabiatu, 2, Habiba says.
Magaji says he despaired what might happen to Habiba if he acknowledged her.
Magaji says he was abducted in the middle of the night by armed men outside his house in the village of Gwaram, Zamfara state, one of the worst-affected parts of the country.
Magaji says he was taken to the forest with a group of others and the kidnappers demanded a ransom of 10 million naira (about $26,000).
It was only after Habiba was freed and told the state governor about his plight that he and others were eventually released, Magaji says.
Figures are hard to come by due to under-reporting, but a study by the Nigeria Security Tracker (NST), which maps political violence in the country, states that there have been more than 200 kidnapping incidents so far this year with at least 2,043 victims.
Sani says the bandits are often ruthless and execute people who fail to meet their ransom demands -- and make the families pay to pick up their bodies.
Ransom encourages kidnapping, but refusal to pay a ransom will lead to the slaughter of innocent persons," he says.
"They saw what happened with Boko Haram and the Chibok girls and bandits have adopted the same strategy," Sani says, explaining that authorities paid more attention to abductions of students than of any other sectors of society.