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Another school kidnapping in northern Nigeria, another release, another denial of ransom payment. The freeing of 279 girls in Zamfara state means relief for parents and concern over what is now become a pattern. We are far from 2014 when the whole planet picked up on the hashtag ‘bring back our girls’ with the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls by Boko Haram in northeast Borno state.

Now it is all of the north and itis not about ideology. It is strictly business. How to shut down the cottage industry that’s become the mass abduction of boarding school pupils? President Muhammadu Buhari – himself from the north – recently purged his military command in the face of outcry. But is a military approach what’s needed to get to the root of the matter? Once again, we’re back to asking what it will take to develop the north of Africa’s most populous nation. 

Produced by Alessandro Xenos, Juliette Laurain and Imen Mellaz.

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