Nigeria: Policeman Killed, 80 Students Abducted In School Attack

The attack on Federal Government College in Kebbi State is the third assault by gangs on a school in Nigeria in a month

Nigeria: Policeman Killed, 80 Students Abducted In School Attack
A view of an empty classroom at the school in Dapchi in the northeastern state of Yobe, Nigeria, where dozens of schoolgirls went missing after an attack on the village by Boko Haram on February 23, 2018

 

 

Unknown armed attackers have killed a police officer and kidnapped at least 80 students and five teachers from a school in the northwestern Nigerian state of the Kebbi, police, residents and teachers said. The attack took place on the Federal Government College in the remote town of Birnin Yauri in Kebbi State on Thursday.

 

It is the third assault by armed gangs on a school or the college in Nigeria in less than a month which have been attributed by the authorities to bandits seeking ransom payments. Usman Aliyu, a teacher at the school, said the gunmen took more than 80 students, most of them being girls. They also killed one of the Police officers

 

 

and broke through the gate and went straight to the students’ classes, he told the media. A spokesman for the Police in the Kebbi State, Nafiu Abubakar, said one officer had been shot dead during an exchange of fire between the police and the attackers, and a student had also been shot and was receiving medical treatment.

 

 

Abubakar said security forces were searching a nearby forest for the abducted students and teachers. Police late on Thursday had also not released the number of students missing, and a spokesman for the Kebbi state governor said they were also conducting a tally of the missing. Atiku Aboki, a local 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. When we got there, we saw the students crying too, teachers crying, everyone is sympathising with people, he said by telephone. Everyone was also confused. Then my brother called me [to say] that his

 

 

two children have not been seen and we don’t know if they are also among the kidnapped. The heavily armed criminal gangs, known locally as the bandits, have long targeted the central and the northwestern states, also raiding villages, and stealing cattle and kidnapping for ransom. But they have increasingly targeted schools,

 

 

snatching students or schoolchildren and herding them into the forest hideouts to negotiate ransom payments. More than 700 children and students have already been kidnapped by these gangs and also for ransom since the December. The raids have mostly taken place in the northwestern region. They are all separate from armed operations centred on the northeast, where the Boko

 

 

Haram group made global headlines in 2014 when it abducted more than 270 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok. At the end of May, armed men also seized 136 children from an Islamic seminary in central Nigeria’s Niger state and the mass kidnappings are also just one challenge for President Muhammadu Buhari’s security forces, which are also fighting an armed conflict in the northeast and rising separatist tensions in the country’s southeast.