Scores of schoolchildren abducted by gunmen in Nigeria

World Monday 31/May/2021 16:55 PM
By: DW
Scores of schoolchildren abducted by gunmen in Nigeria

One person was killed and a large number of students were abducted Sunday at an Islamic seminary in Nigeria's north-central Niger State, a police spokesman said.

Some 200 children were at the school when the incident took place. The Niger state government said "an unconfirmed number" were taken.

Wasiu Abiodun, the Niger state police spokesman, said the abduction was carried out by "armed bandits on board motorcycles.''

The gunmen fired "indiscriminately" he said, adding that the attackers shot one person dead in the process. All "tactical teams" have been mobilized to rescue the victims and the police will "ensure that the children are rescued unhurt," according to the police spokesman.

The school's owner, Abubakar Tegina, witnessed the attack. "I personally saw between 20 and 25 motorcycles with heavily armed people. They entered the school and went away with about 150 or more of the students," Tegina, who lives around 150 meters from the school, told Reuters news agency.

Fear of kidnappings forces schools to close

The incident is the latest in a series of mass abductions in Nigerian schools by armed gangs.

The groups have been raiding schools in northern Nigeria in recent months, with hundreds of students abducted for ransom in recent months.

Since December 2020, 730 children and students have been kidnapped, without taking the Sunday attack into account.

The worst incident this year occurred at the Government Girls Secondary School Jangebe in February, when 279 girls were abducted and later released.

Many schools in the region have been forced to close due to frequent incidents.

On Saturday, 14 university students and staff who had been abducted from Greenfield University in Kaduna state on April 20 were freed after spending more than a month in captivity.