Schoolgirls kidnapped in northwest Nigeria

Kidnappers have abducted schoolgirls from a school in Zamfara, northwestern Nigeria, a spokesman for the state governor said.

He declined to offer further details, including how many children were taken, though some reports claimed as many as 300 were abducted. All those taken were said to be girls.

It is not immediately clear who was responsible for the kidnapping.

This is the second kidnapping in a little over a week. On 17 February, unidentified gunmen killed a student and kidnapped 42 people in an overnight attack on a boarding school in Niger, central-northern Nigeria.

27 of the people kidnapped from the Government Science college in the Kagara district were students, three were staff and 12 were members of their families. The hostages are yet to be released.

In December, around 350 schoolboys who were kidnapped from their school in Katsina, northwest Nigeria, were rescued and escorted home by soldiers and armed police.

The boys had been abducted by gunmen on motorbikes, who marched them into the Rugu forest. One of the boys later told Channels TV that it was cold in the forest and that their captors fed them bits of bread and cassava.

A man identifying himself as Nigeria’s leader of Boko Haram, whose name means ‘Western education is forbidden’, claimed responsibility for the abduction in an unverified audio recording.

The kidnapping evoked painful memories of the abduction of almost 300 schoolgirls from Chibok, northeast Nigeria by Boko Haram in 2014. Only around half of the girls initially kidnapped have been found or released.

The spate of abductions have increased pressure on authorities to tackle the issue of growing militancy in the north of the African country.


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