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A Nigerian gang leader behind a school kidnapping was shot dead by rivals – KBC

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A prominent gang leader behind the abduction of more than 300 students in Nigeria in December has been killed by a rival gang, officials say.

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Auwalu Daudawa was reportedly attacked while trying to steal a herd of cattle from an armed group in the northwestern province of Zamfara.

Daudawa is said to be carrying out the December kidnapping in Katsina state.

He was pardoned as part of a peace deal in February but reportedly returned to his gang earlier this week.

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Under the February agreement, Daudawa was pardoned in Zamfara state after he said he repented and handed over his weapons to the government.

Members of his criminal gang were promised accommodation by Governor Bello Matawalle, as well as help to improve their lives.

On Friday, Daudawa and four other members of his gang were shot dead in a forest fire near the border with Katsina, a local official told AFP.

“She led her people in retaliation for the death of her two men and the rival gang during a failed raid in one of her camps last month,” the official added.

The kidnapping of hundreds of school children in Katsina state in December, which was said to have been led by the Daudawa gang, was one of the most blamed raids on robbers seeking compensation.

The students were reunited with their families a week after the abduction.

The government later insisted that no compensation was paid at the time, but that the boys were released after talks with the kidnappers.

The BBC’s Africa editor, Will Ross, says the news of Daudawa’s death is likely to re-ignite the debate over whether agreements should be made with prominent criminals.

Such groups have made the kidnapping of students a lucrative business in Nigeria because of compensation payments, our correspondent adds.

Schoolchildren, along with several businessmen and several political figures, have been abducted at various times and released after compensation was paid – though not to the extent seen in December, when more than 300 boys were abducted from their boarding school on the outskirts of Cancer.

The Islamist militant group Boko Haram said at the time it was behind the attack, and that it had hired local gangs to carry out the attack.

Boko Haram had previously targeted schools for opposing Western education, which it believes destroys Muslim values. The name of the group translates as “Western education is prohibited”.

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