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Gunmen kidnap hundreds of schoolboys in Nigeria

Armed men have abducted hundreds of students along with some of their teachers after attacking their school in central Nigeria.

The gunmen, wearing military uniforms, stormed the Government Science College (GSC) in “huge numbers” in the town of Kagara late on Tuesday, officials said on Wednesday.

One student was killed in the attack, they said.

The officials said the gunmen belonged to criminal gangs, who are locally referred to only as bandits.

“Bandits went into GSC Kagara last night and kidnapped hundreds of students and their teachers,” an official told AFP on the condition of anonymity.

“One of the kidnapped staff and some students managed to escape. The staff confirmed a student was shot dead during the kidnap operation,” the official added.

Troops with aerial support were tracking the bandits for possible rescue, said a security source.

In mid-December 2020, groups of gunmen kidnapped hundreds of schoolboys in northwestern Katsina State.

They released the boys days later after negotiations with the government.

Officials say that the gangs are driven by financial motives, but security officials are concerned that they are being infiltrated by Takfiri terrorists from the north and northeastern states of Nigeria.

Those parts of the country have been wracked by years of violence involving Boko Haram and the West Africa Province (ISWAP) branch of the Daesh terrorist group.

ISWAP maintains camps on islands in Lake Chad, where the territories of Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, and Chad meet.

At least 36,000 people have been killed and some two million people displaced in more than a decade of Boko Haram violence in Nigeria, according to the United Nations (UN)’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

As many as 276 schoolgirls were abducted in the town of Chibok in northeastern Nigeria in 2014. A foreign-brokered deal enabled the release of 103 of the girls in October 2016 and May 2017.

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