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Middle-Belt Youth Forum protests kidnappings and insecurity, demands terrorist designation for culprits

Amidst the arrest of suspected bandits, members rally in Abuja, calling for decisive action against escalating abductions

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In an emphatic response to the surge in kidnappings and pervasive insecurity across the nation, the Middle-Belt Youth Forum is set to stage a protest today in Abuja. The demonstration, led by President Brent Kane, aims to draw attention to the urgency of the situation by marching peacefully to the Attorney-General’s office. The forum is demanding the formal designation of kidnappers and bandits as terrorists and an immediate halt to the rampant killings and abductions plaguing the country.

This demonstration unfolds against the grim backdrop of 19 hostages from Sagwari Estate Layout, abducted by bandits in the Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory. Tragically, the captors have demanded a staggering N700 million ransom for nine of the victims. The perpetrators have already claimed the lives of four hostages, including a 400-level student of biological science from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and a 13-year-old girl.

The anguish deepens as five sisters, including a 500-level Quantity Surveying student and a 300-level Zoology student, remain captive. The kidnappers, demonstrating a chilling ruthlessness, have intensified their demands, raising the ransom from N60 million to an alarming N100 million and insisting on payment by Wednesday.

President Kane, in a memo, articulated the distress experienced by families and individuals in the North-Central region, likening the actions of kidnappers and bandits to terrorism. He emphasized the need for the federal government to invoke anti-terrorism laws and address the unfolding crisis decisively.

Chima Christian, Executive Director of Africa’s Morning Centre, collaborating with the youth forum, underscored the government’s apparent indifference to the citizens’ plight. Christian highlighted the constitutional clarity of labeling anyone involved in kidnapping as a terrorist, expressing determination to convey their demands to the Attorney-General’s office.

In another grim development, a hotel barman, abducted alongside a receptionist in Sagwari Estate Layout, has been reported killed by the abductors. The perpetrators, clad in military uniform, have demonstrated a brutal pattern of violence, claiming multiple lives and issuing extortionate ransom demands.

As the Middle-Belt Youth Forum gears up for their peaceful march, the nation awaits the outcome of their collective call for urgent action. Meanwhile, the Defence Headquarters reports the arrest of 10 suspected bandits in operations within the Federal Capital Territory, emphasizing the military’s unwavering commitment to locating and neutralizing terrorists.

In a concerted effort to address the escalating security challenges, President Bola Tinubu convened an emergency meeting with service chiefs and security agency heads. Vowing to eliminate the “agents of darkness” behind the insecurity, Tinubu’s administration remains resolute in its pursuit of national safety and stability.

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