Gun men attempt to kidnap hundreds of students in Nigeria’s Kaduna state, a state government official said, as 39 others from an earlier attack remain missing.
Attacks by armed gangs, usually referred to as bandits, have intensified across northwest Nigeria in recent years. Four school kidnappings since December have provoked nationwide outrage.
Some 39 students, including a pregnant woman, are still missing from Thursday’s abduction from the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, in northwest Nigeria.
Samuel Aruwan, Kaduna state commissioner of internal security and home affairs, said police, army and others had repelled attacks on another school and at a local government office near Kaduna airport.
“The Kaduna state government extends its unequivocal solidarity to the military, police, Department of State Services and other security agencies, whose swift intervention prevented the bandits from abducting more persons,” Aruwan said.
All 307 students at the Government Science Secondary School in Ikara were accounted for, Aruwan said, adding that the army and air force also repelled an attack on senior staff quarters in Ifira village in Igabi local government area.
Several criminal gangs in northwestern and central Nigeria have stepped up attacks in recent years.
The Nigerian military deployed to the area in 2016 and a peace deal with bandits was signed in 2019 but attacks have continued.
Within the last few weeks, 279 schoolgirls were freed after being abducted from their boarding school at Jangebe in northwest Nigeria’s Zamfara state, and 27 teenage boys were released after being kidnapped from their school in the north-central state of Niger, along with three staff and 12 family members. One student was shot dead in that attack.
Before that, in December, more than 300 boys were kidnapped from a school in Kankara, in President Muhammadu Buhari’s home state of Katsina, while the president was visiting the region.
The boys were later released but the incident triggered outrage and memories of the kidnappings of at least 276 schoolgirls by the Boko Haram armed group in Chibok in 2014 that shocked the world. Many of those girls are still missing.