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Gunmen kidnap 280 pupils from Nigerian school

Gunmen have kidnapped more than 280 pupils during a raid on a school in northwest Nigeria, a teacher and a resident said, in one of the country’s largest mass abductions.

Mass kidnappings for ransom are common in Africa’s most populous country, where criminal gangs have targeted schools and colleges, especially in the northwest, though such attacks have abated recently.

Local government officials in Kaduna State confirmed the kidnapping attack on Kuriga school yesterday, but gave no numbers as they said they were still working out how many children had been abducted.

Sani Abdullahi, one of the teachers at the GSS Kuriga school in the Chikun district, said last night that staff managed to escape with many students when the gunmen were firing in the air.

“We then began working to determine the actual figure of those kidnapped,” he told local officials visiting the school.

“In GSS Kuriga, 187 children are missing while in the primary school, 125 children were missing but 25 returned.”

A screen grab from AFPTV shows the school in Kuriga where gunmen kidnapped over 280 pupils

Local resident Muhammad Adam told AFP: “More than 280 have been kidnapped. We initially thought the number was 200, but after a careful count it was discovered the children kidnapped are a little more than 280.”

Local officials and police did not give any figures for the number of kidnapped.

“As of this moment we have not been able to know the number of children or students that have been kidnapped,” Kaduna State Governor Uba Sani told reporters at the site yesterday.

“No child will be left behind.”

Schoolchildren were abducted from a school in north west Nigeria

In recent years, criminal gangs known locally as bandits have repeatedly raided schools mostly in rural areas in northwestern states of Nigeria.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has made reducing insecurity one of his priorities, but Nigeria’s armed forces are battling on several fronts, including a long-running jihadist insurgency in the northeast of the country.

More than 100 people were missing after militants carried out a mass kidnapping last week targeting women and children in a camp for those displaced by the conflict in the northeast.

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