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Curfew, market closure imposed in Nigerian town of abducted girls

Gunshots and chaos erupted during what should have been the joyous return of 279 schoolgirls abducted by gunmen from their boarding school [Amin Abubakar/AFP]

Curfew, market closure imposed in Nigerian town of abducted girls.

Authorities in Nigeria’s Zamfara state have declared a curfew and shut market activities after violence marred the return of many kidnapped schoolgirls to their families, a state spokesman said.

Late on Wednesday, gunshots and chaos erupted during what should are the joyous return of 279 schoolgirls abducted by gunmen from their private school last week.

The government secured the discharge of the women on Tuesday, but that they had been undergoing medical checks and treatment.

At least three people were shot, but it had been not clear by whom. A Reuters witness saw police firing tear gas at a gaggle of protesters outside the varsity , and soldiers shooting into the air, after impatient parents burst in and grabbed their children to require them home.

On Thursday, Zamfara state spokesman Sulaiman Tunau Anka called it “unfortunate civil disobedience” and said the governor had imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew within the town, Jangebe, to stop an extra breach of the peace.

Anka also said market activities would be suspended until further notice, as authorities had uncovered “strong evidence” that these activities had aided and abetted bandits. He didn’t elaborate.

“The government is poised to make sure safety of lives and properties of its citizens in the least cost,” Anka said.

Earlier in the week , President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a huge military deployment to Zamfara, banned mining and imposed a no-fly zone within the state.
United Nations experts on Wednesday condemned the Nigerian government for the “lack of an efficient investigation into the kidnapping of 344 students from a boys’ private school in Kankara, Katsina State, in December 2020 and released a couple of days later”.

The experts also involved the urgent rehabilitation of traumatised students.

“Social inclusion of those children requires the supply of long-term measures aimed toward restoring their physical and psychological well-being,” the UN human rights special procedures experts said during a statement.

“Sensitising families and communities to the importance of reintegration is imperative for them to be ready to build renewed social relations … and to beat stigma.”

Heavily armed criminal gangs in northwest and central Nigeria have stepped up attacks in recent years, kidnapping for ransom, raping and pillaging.

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