Lagos, May 30 (EFE).- “Many” students from a school in west-central Nigeria were kidnapped Sunday by armed men, authorities confirmed to EFE.
“It is true that many students from a school in Tegina (Niger state) have been kidnapped today,” but, “at the moment, I cannot determine the real number,” Mary Noel-Berje, press officer for Niger governor Abubakar Sani Bello, told EFE.
Nigerian media indicated that at least 200 schoolchildren were kidnapped, but this information has not been confirmed by an official source.
This Day news website reported that gunmen “stormed the town riding on many motorcycles and shot sporadically into the air” before going to the school and separating “the smaller children from the elderly and strong ones, taking away those in the latter group to an unknown destination.”
The incident took place a day after 14 students from Greenfield University, in neighboring Kaduna state, were released after having been kidnapped in April.
In recent months, mass kidnappings in schools in northern Nigeria have increased in order to obtain ransoms, and more than 800 students have been held since December.
On Mar. 12, 39 students from the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization in Kaduna were kidnapped and released between April and May.
On Mar. 2, a total of 279 students who had been abducted on Feb. 26 in a kidnapping attributed by the authorities to “bandits” in a public school for girls in the state of Zamfara were released.
On Feb. 17, gunmen abducted 38 students and teachers from the Government Science College in Kagara, Niger, and 10 were later released.
Likewise, on Dec. 11, 344 students – released a week later – were also captured at a school in Kankara, northwestern Katsina state, in an attack claimed by the jihadist group Boko Haram, which until then had been limited to attacking in the northeast of the country, although the authorities attributed it to bandits.
Kaduna and other northwestern states of the country are often attacked by criminal gangs involved in stealing livestock and kidnapping to obtain ransom payments. EFE