Abducted university workers freed in Nigeria: police

Nigeria police

A police truck is stationed outside the University of Abuja Staff Quarters gate where unknown gunmen kidnapped people amongst whom were 2 of the university professors, lecturers and their family members in Abuja, Nigeria on November 2, 2021. 

Photo credit: Kola Sulaimon| AFP

Nigerian security forces Friday rescued six people who had been seized at a university near the capital's international airport, police said.

The victims were kidnapped Tuesday from the University of Abuja in Giri, raising fears for security around the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport some 20 kilometres away.

Abuja police spokesperson Josephine Adeh said in a statement:

After the incident, Adeh had confirmed that six people were abducted "by criminals."

The university said on its Facebook page that those taken were four staff members and their children.

Police said Friday that the hostages were rescued in the "early hours of today" in a joint operation by security agencies.

Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation of some 210 million inhabitants, is struggling with widespread criminality.

Gunmen known locally as bandits have increasingly targeted schools and universities in recent months.

Gangs have kidnapped at least 950 students since December, according to the UN.

Most of the victims are released after negotiations with the captors. The gangs are not known to have any ideological motivation.

The violence is just one of the challenges facing President Muhammadu Buhari's government, also battling a 12-year-old insurgency in the northeast and separatist agitation in the southeast.