80 students abducted in Nigeria school

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 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 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 girls. “They killed one of the (police officers), broke through the gate and went straight to the students’ classes,” he told. Kebbi State police spokesman Nafiu Abubakar, said the gunmen killed one officer during an exchange and also shot a student, who was receiving medical treatment. Security forces were searching a nearby forest for the abducted students and teachers. Police late on Thursday had not released the number of students missing, and a spokesman for the Kebbi state governor said they were conducting a tally of the missing.

Heavily armed criminal gangs, known locally as bandits, have long targeted central and northwestern states, raiding villages, stealing cattle and kidnapping for ransom. But they have increasingly targeted schools, snatching students or schoolchildren and herding them into forest hideouts to negotiate ransom payments.