Since December, more than 600 students have been abducted from schools in north-west Nigeria, highlighting a worrying development in the country’s kidnap-for-ransom crisis. Friday’s kidnapping of 317 students from the Government Girls Science Secondary School in Jangebe, Zamfara state, was the second mass kidnap from schools in less than 10 days. The authorities say recent attacks on schools in the north-west have been carried out by “bandits”, a loose term for kidnappers, armed robbers, cattle rustlers, Fulani herdsmen and other armed militia operating in the region who are largely motivated by money. Many here believe that a weak security infrastructure and governors who have little control over security in their states – the police and army are controlled by the federal government – and have resorted to paying ransoms, have made mass abductions a lucrative source of income. It is an accusation the governors deny. Zamfara governor Bello Matawalle, who in the past has promised “repentant” bandits with houses, money and cars, said people “not comfortable [with his] peace initiative” were sabotaging his efforts to end the crisis.