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Nigerian official says gunmen ‘made tea’ as they kidnapped at least 160 in hours-long deadly raid

The attack occurred in Kuchi village, Munya district, in Niger state, beginning at about 5:30 p.m. on Friday and lasting until 4:00 a.m. Saturday, according to district official Aminu Abdulhamid Najume.

Niger state, which borders Nigeria’s capital Abuja, has experienced repeated kidnappings for ransom by armed groups, including mass abductions, in recent years.

Najume reported that about 300 gunmen arrived on motorbikes and stayed for several hours, making themselves at home before leaving with the abductees. “They made a fire to curb the cold because it was raining throughout that day,” Najume said. “They cooked and made tea; they made Indomie (instant noodles) and spaghetti.”

Some of those killed were members of a local vigilante group who confronted the attackers but were overpowered. Najume added that security forces had not yet started rescue operations. “The police visited Kuchi yesterday [Sunday] and left, nothing else.”

“This is not the first or second time Kuchi village has been attacked. This is the fifth time,” Najume said, noting that the area frequently suffers from kidnappings for ransom. The kidnappers have not yet made any demands regarding the latest abduction, he said.

Amnesty International said in a post on social media platform X on Sunday that it was “deeply concerned by the abduction,” criticizing Nigerian authorities for leaving “rural communities at the mercy of gunmen.”

“Since 2021, gunmen have been consistently attacking Kuchi village and raping women and girls in their matrimonial homes,” the agency stated.

“The invasion of the village by the gunmen is yet another indication of the Nigerian authorities’ utter failure to protect lives,” Amnesty added.

Nigeria’s security forces have struggled for years to control insurgent groups in the north of the country.

The Kuchi abduction comes two months after 21 people, including a newlywed, were killed when gunmen described locally as ‘bandits’ stormed a market in Rafi, another affected district in Niger.

At least 137 schoolchildren were kidnapped earlier in March in Niger’s neighboring Kaduna state but were later released after the kidnappers made an initial demand of 1 billion naira (over $675,000) and threatened to kill them all if their demands were not met.

This post appeared first on cnn.com

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