Kidnappers abduct schoolchildren in Northwest Nigeria

Kidnappers abducted schoolchildren in northwest Nigeria’s Zamfara, the Gunmen raided a Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe overnight kidnapping an unknown number of students from dormitories, local authorities on Friday. This is second such kidnapping in little over a week. Earlier, unidentified gunmen had killed a student and kidnapped 42 people, including 27 students in central Nigerian state of Niger.

An operation to rescue more than 300 girls kidnapped in Nigeria had failed to pinpoint their location by late on Friday, almost 24 hours after gunmen seized them in a raid on their school. In Zamfara state, the governor ordered all boarding schools to close immediately after first such incident, a region increasingly targeted by militants and criminal gangs. Zamfara police said they had begun search-and-rescue operations with the army to find the “bandits”.

There’s information that they were moved to a neighboring forest, and police are tracking and exercising caution. All the abductees remained at large, but the parent of one of them, Mohammed Usman Jangebe, said seven of their schoolmates had resurfaced after escaping the raiders by hiding in gutters. The assailants stormed in at around 1 a.m., firing sporadically, they came with vehicles and moved the students. They also moved some on foot.

School kidnappings were first carried out by jihadist groups Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province but the tactic has now been adopted by other militants whose agenda is unclear. They have become endemic around the increasingly lawless north, to the anguish of families and frustration of Nigeria’s government and armed forces. Friday’s was the third such incident since December. The rise in abductions is fuelled in part by sizeable government payoffs in exchange for child hostages, catalyzing a broader breakdown of security in the north, officials have said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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