Nigeria: 140 Students Missing After Gunmen Raid School

Police said gunmen shooting wildly attacked the Bethel Baptist High School in the south of Kaduna state overnight.

Nigeria: 140 Students Missing After Gunmen Raid School
Parents stand beside signpost of Bethel Baptist School where 140 boarding students were kidnapped in Kaduna



About 140 students are missing after armed men raided a boarding school in Nigeria’s Kaduna state on Monday, and police also said they were in hot pursuit alongside military personnel. The attack is the 10th mass school kidnapping since December in northwest Nigeria, which authorities have attributed to armed bandits seeking


ransom payments. Police said gunmen shooting wildly attacked the Bethel Baptist High School in the south of Kaduna state overnight. They overpowered the school’s security guards and made their way into the students hostel where they abducted an unspecified number of students into the forest, a police statement said, adding



26 people including a female teacher had been rescued. Reverend John Hayab, a founder of the school, told the media about 25 students had also managed to escape. Roughly 180 students attended the school and were in the process of sitting exams, and according to Hayab, whose 17 year old son escaped and parent, Hassana



Markus, whose daughter was among those missing. Local residents who also declined to be identified said security officials cordoned off the school after the attack, which took place between 11pm on Sunday and 4am on the Monday. The kidnappers took away 140 students, only 25 students escaped. We still have no



Parents of abducted students stand on Kachia Road that leads to Bethel Baptist School in Kaduna northwestern Nigeria



idea where the students were taken, Emmanuel Paul, a teacher at the school told the media. The Kaduna state police spokesman Muhammed Jalige confirmed the attack, but could not give details on the number of pupils taken. Tactical police teams also went after the kidnappers, he said. We are still on the rescue mission.



Political problem

Armed men, known locally as bandits, have recently made an industry of kidnapping students for ransom in northwest Nigeria, with Kaduna state particularly hard hit. They have taken nearly 1,000 people from schools since the December last year, more than 150 of whom remain missing. Kidnappers have also targeted roads,



private residents and even hospitals. In the early hours of Sunday, gunmen abducted six people including a one-year-old child from a hospital in northern Kaduna state. School kidnappings in Nigeria were first carried out by the armed groups Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province, but the tactic has also now been



adopted by other gunmen. In February, the President Muhammadu Buhari urged state governments to review their policy of rewarding bandits with money and also vehicles, warning the move might boomerang disastrously. The unrest has become a political problem for Buhari, a retired general and the former military ruler



who has also faced mounting criticism over prominent attacks by the gangs. Highest profile school kidnapping was that of more than 270 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram from the town of Chibok in 2014. About 100 of them remain missing.