Seven children and an adult have been kidnapped from an orphanage near the Nigerian capital Abuja by criminals who demanded a large ransom in exchange for their release, the orphanage and police said Monday.
“They were kidnapped on Saturday between 1 am and 2 am by a group of about 25 men,” said Rachel Alaji, director of the orphanage.
Ms Elge said that a total of 11 people were kidnapped at first, but an adult and two children were eventually released by the criminals and taken back to the orphanage, “because one of the children was crying and the other could not move alone.”
The criminals demanded a ransom of 10 million naira ($ 26,000) for the release of the children between the ages of 9 and 14.
Police spokeswoman Maryam Yusef confirmed the incident and said that she launched an “operation to secure the safe release of the children.”
Kidnappings for ransom are very common in Nigeria, particularly in the oil-rich south of the country and the northwest where hundreds of people from all walks of life and all backgrounds have been kidnapped in recent years.
Victims are usually released within days or weeks of the kidnapping, although police rarely confirm that money has been paid to the kidnappers.
SB Morgen, a Nigerian geopolitical consulting firm, estimates that more than $ 18 million (around € 15 million) has been paid in ransom since 2011, in a report released last year.