Bandits kidnap ransom bearer in Niger

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Bandits in Niger state have abducted a negotiator who had been sent to pay ransom to secure the release of 136 students kidnapped on 29 May from the Salihu Tanko Islamic school in Tegina.

The negotiator, a 60-year-old man from the community, was taken because kidnappers said the ransom he brought was short.

Abubakar Alhassan, director of the Islamic school and parents of the children confirmed this, according to a news agency report.

The kidnapped negotiator was not identified.

Alhassan said the school and parents have been negotiating with the kidnappers who demanded 30 million nairas ($72,993) to release the students from the school.

Alhassan said the school had contributed to a ransom and some parents sold the property to raise cash given to the negotiator.

Armed groups have been blamed for a series of raids on schools and universities in northern Nigeria in recent months, abducting more than 1,000 students for ransom since December.

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The government has said it would not pay any ransom.

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered security forces to search for the students.

“We sold most of our properties and used our savings to see that our children are returned.

Unfortunately after all the effort, they said that we did not bring the money as they required,” said Ibrahim Salihu, father of two of the children abducted by the school in Niger state.

“We are now left with nothing and our children are still held captive,” he said.

The police did not respond to a request for comment.

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