Nigeria: Police Search for Kidnapped Farm Workers

ABUJA, Nigeria (HPD) — Nigerian police are searching for 21 people who were kidnapped by a group of armed men while working on farmland whose owner is believed to owe forced payments to the alleged kidnappers.

The abductees are teenagers who were working on a farm in the remote Faskari council area of ​​Katsina state when the gunmen “picked the farm and kidnapped them,” said Gambo Isah, a spokesman for the Katsina police.

“According to our investigation, the bandits imposed some taxes on some of these farmers, and this one in particular refused to comply with their demands… That is why they went to their property and kidnapped the workers,” Isah explained.

Nigerian police and soldiers from a nearby military post were working to find the kidnapped farm workers, who are between 15 and 18 years old, it added.

Residents in remote parts of the northwestern and central regions of Nigeria, targeted by armed groups, have complained that they require farmers to pay high fees in order to allow them to work their farmland.

The groups are made up primarily of young people from the Fulani ethnic group, whose members traditionally worked as nomadic cattle herders and are in the midst of a decades-long conflict with Hausa farming communities over access to water and grazing land.

Nigerian security forces carry out aerial bombardments on known hideouts of armed groups. The authorities attribute the continuity of its operations to the cooperation of some local residents.

Most of those residents are farmers who say they risk attack if they don’t pay the levies in their villages.

Police are “concerned and disturbed that terrorists are imposing levies on people,” police spokesman Isah said. He said that the villagers should “desist from cooperating and any demands made by these terrorists.”

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