Image caption: The girls taken last week were reportedly made to walk a long distance into the forest
Nigeria has announced a ban on mining and a no-fly zone in the north-western state of Zamfara as part of efforts to clamp down on notorious criminal gangs often involved in kidnapping.
Mining activities are believed to offer cover to these groups, which often invade communities and abduct villagers – many of them for ransom. Last week, 279 girls were kidnapped from their boarding school before being released on Tuesday.
It is suspected that powerful figures engaged in illegal artisanal mining are arming the gangs.
“Private jets are being used to ferry arms to Zamfara and then take gold to Dubai,” presidential spokesman Garba Shehu told the BBC.