SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: April 02, 2023

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Federal University Gusau

Region & Country:Western Africa | Nigeria

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On April 2, 2023, a Zamfara militia group abducted two women Federal University Gusau students from their apartment at Sabon Gida Village, a private student hostel, in Bungudu.

The two women are students in the Microbiology department.

The perpetrators tied up two gatekeepers at the hostel and stole their phones before abducting the women. The two women were released 12 days later, on April 14. It was not clear whether the ransom demands were met.

This incident appears to fit a pattern of attacks and kidnappings targeting schools and universities in Nigeria. Sources have frequently described groups of “bandits” kidnapping students and staff in pursuit of ransom.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the abduction of higher education students. State authorities should take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of scholars, students, and staff, including by investigating and holding perpetrators of such acts responsible, in line with international human rights standards. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, kidnappings that target members of the higher education community undermine the conditions needed for the meaningful exercise of the right to education and academic freedom.

*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED)