In 4 Days, 3 Rulers Assassinated

Spate of kidnappings, killings wash over Nigeria
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2024 11:42 AM CST
3 Traditional Rulers Killed in 4 Days
A Nigerian security official gestures at the entrance of the Digital Technology Showcase at 21st Century Technologies in Lagos, Nigeria, Wednesday Jan. 24, 2024.   (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via AP)

Gunmen in Nigeria have killed three traditional rulers in four days, and kidnapped several others, as part of an ongoing security crisis. Armed men killed two traditional rulers in Ekiti state—the Onimojo of Imojo-Ekiti, Oba Olatunde Samuel Olushola, and the Elesun of Esun-Ekiti, Oba David Babatunde Ogunsakin—on Monday, per the Daily Post. The same day, kidnappers seized six schoolchildren, three teachers, and a bus driver and demanded a $110,000 ransom, per Reuters and the BBC. Early Thursday, Aondo Ver, a director in the Federal Housing Authority, was taken from his home outside Nigeria's capital, per Vanguard News. Then, hours later, came news that armed men had stormed the palace of Oba Segun Aremu-Cole, the Olukoro of Koro-Ekiti in Kwara state.

"The gunmen invaded the residence of the traditional ruler in the evening and killed him and went away with his wife," a police spokesperson said late Thursday from Kwara's capital of Ilorin, per the Premium Times. Two others were also taken from the palace, the state government confirmed in a statement. It said state Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq condemned the killing of the retired army general as "reckless, shocking, and abominable," and "charged the security agencies not to spare any resources to track down the perpetrators, free the spouse and others taken away, and bring them" to justice.

It's unknown whether there has been any ransom demand in the latest kidnapping. "Armed gangs have been abducting villagers, road travellers and students in return for ransom, as Africa's most populous nation grapples with widespread insecurity," per Reuters. Incidents are common in Nigeria's northeast, "where jihadists linked to Islamic State attack the army and villages," and northwest, which is "riddled with gangs," per the Economist. President Bola Tinubu declared security his top priority at his inauguration last year. But Nigerian risk consultancy SBM Intelligence finds 3,964 people have been abducted since then, per AFP. Matthew Page of the London thinktank Chatham House says much security spending has been funneled to those who helped get Tinubu elected, per the Economist. (More Nigeria stories.)

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