Hundreds of students and several teachers kidnapped in Nigeria school attack
A group of armed men attacked a boarding school in central Nigeria’s Niger state on Tuesday night and kidnapped “hundreds of students” and several teachers, said a local official and one from the security forces today.
This abduction occurred two months after another attack by criminal groups on a school in the neighboring state of Katsina, following which 344 students were abducted. The students were released a week after the attack, after negotiations between the authorities and the rebels.
Last Tuesday night, the “bandits entered a Kagara government college and kidnapped hundreds of students and their teachers,” said a local official, who asked not to be named.
Many armed men, dressed in military uniforms, took the students to the forest, according to the same source.
“One of the employees and some of the students managed to escape. The staff confirmed that a student was shot dead ”during the attack, he added.
The secondary school has about 1,000 students, but the exact number of abducted teenagers is not yet known.
“A count is in progress to determine the exact number of abducted students. We hope that all those who fled the school [in the aftermath of the attack] will return to the count, ”said a security source.
The military, with air support, is now looking for kidnappers and hostages with a view to a possible rescue operation, the source said.
Northwest and central Nigeria has been plagued for almost a decade by the violence of criminal groups known locally as “bandits”, who are intensifying kidnappings for rescue and cattle theft.
These criminal gangs are motivated by greed, but some of them have developed strong links with terrorist groups in the northeast.
These include groups that abducted 344 students from a boarding school in the city of Kankara, Katsina State, last December.
These armed groups acted on behalf of the terrorist group Boko Haram, which claimed responsibility for the abduction in a video, but its stronghold is hundreds of kilometers away in northeastern Nigeria.
The abduction caused global unrest and brought back memories of another similar action by Boko Haram, which kidnapped more than 200 girls in Chibok, in the northeast, in 2014.
Kankara’s students were released after a week of captivity, following negotiations between the gangs and the Katsina and Zamfara governments. And on February 9, the abductor, an armed group leader, Awwalun Daudawa, surrendered to the authorities in exchange for an amnesty agreement.
This article is available in: Português