Nigeria: Gunmen kidnap over 80 students from school – DW (English)
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Armed attackers have abducted at least 80 pupils and five teachers from a school in the state of Kebbi. Security forces are searching for the kidnapped students and staff.
A school bag inside a classroom in Katsina after it was attacked by armed bandits last year
A policeman was killed and another student injured when gunmen raided a school in the Nigerian state of Kebbi on Thursday.
The attack took place at a federal government college in the remote town of Birnin Yauri. This is the third mass-kidnapping in three weeks in northwest Nigeria, which authorities have attributed to armed bandits seeking ransom payments.
Usman Aliyu, a teacher at the school, told Reuters that the gunmen took more than 80 students, most of them girls.
“They killed one of the [police officers], broke through the gate and went straight to the students’ classes,” he said.
The gunmen also ransacked the hostels and vandalised student personal effects. The student who was shot is currently receiving medical treatment.
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Kebbi State police spokesman Nafiu Abubakar said security forces were searching a nearby forest for the abducted students and teachers.
“When we got there we saw students crying, teachers crying, everyone is sympathizing with people,” he said.
“Everyone was confused. Then my brother called me [to say] that his two children have not been seen and [we] don’t know if they are among the kidnapped.”
Atiku Aboki, a resident who went to the school shortly after the gunfire stopped, said he saw a scene of panic and confusion as people searched for their children.
Heavily armed criminal gangs have long targeted central and northwestern states, raiding villages, stealing cattle and kidnapping for ransom. But they have increasingly targeted schools, snatching students or schoolchildren and hiding them in their forest hideouts to negotiate payment.
By the end of May, gunmen kindapped 136 children from an Islamic seminary in central Nigeria’s Niger state
At the end of May, gunmen kindapped 136 children from an Islamic seminary in central Nigeria’s Niger state.
More than 700 children and students have already been kidnapped by gunmen for ransom since December. Some have been freed, while others remain missing.
Mass kidnappings are just one challenge for President Muhammadu Buhari’s security forces. They are also fighting a jihadist conflict in the northeast and rising tensions in the country’s southeast.
The raids in the northwestern region are separate from Islamist insurgencies centered on the northeast, where the Boko Haram militant group made global headlines in 2014 when it abducted more than 270 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok.
Mass kidnappings are just one challenge for President Muhammadu Buhari’s security forces