24 May 2021
Hundreds of protesters descended on Nigeria’s Abuja Kaduna highway on Monday to demand greater security from the federal government in the wake of kidnappings over the weekend in which 15 people were abducted and three killed.
Footage circulating on social media showed smoke billowing along the road as tires were set alight, disrupting traffic for hours while protesters called on the government to act quickly in bolstering community security.
The crowds gathered to express their outrage over a number of recent abductions by armed gunmen, which have come on foot of bandit attacks in the region throughout the year. Local media reported that around 30 people have been abducted in Niger State this year alone, though that number has not been independently confirmed.
Speaking to local media, residents in Nigeria’s Niger State spoke of hearing rumors that Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram had infiltrated certain communities, following a warning from one local governor that some individuals have hoisted the group’s flags in the Gauraka area.
It is believed that the kidnappers behind the latest incident are demanding a 10 million Nigerian Naira (US$24,200) ransom to release their abductees. The money has reportedly not yet been paid.
The Nigerian government has not directly responded to protests on the Abuja Kaduna highway but the country’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, has previously vowed to end the wave of jihadist insurgent violence plaguing the area. Buhari has faced increased criticism of late, even from within his own party, for failing to defeat Boko Haram and other militant Islamist groups.
A version of this report first appeared on RT.