Nigeria: At least 287 students were kidnapped by gunmen in Kaduna state, northwest of the country

Jerome Delay/AFP

Kaduna state, which borders the Nigerian capital, Abuja, faces frequent incidents of kidnapping by gangs known locally as “bandits.”



CNN

At least 287 students, some as young as eight years old, are being held by gunmen who raided their school in Kaduna state, northwestern Nigeria, early Thursday, a police spokesman told CNN on Friday.

State police spokesman Mansur Hassan said more than 300 students were kidnapped early Thursday by armed bandits on motorcycles who stormed the LEA Primary and Secondary School in Korija village of Chikun district of Kaduna.

Hassan said that some students were rescued, but 287 of them were still with the kidnappers.

“The students were kidnapped from the school building on Thursday morning around 8:00 am (local time). Hassan said that about 287 students are still in the hands of the bandits, 100 from the primary stage and 187 from the secondary level, adding that “more than 300 students were kidnapped initially, but some of them were rescued.”

Earlier, Reuters reported that 227 children were kidnapped, citing a teacher, a local council member, and the families of the missing children. Several other reports including The Washington Post and a Local 287 outlet report citing the school's principal.

CNN cannot independently verify these numbers.

Kaduna State Governor, Oba Sani, said in a statement On Thursday, he said that his government “is doing everything in its power to ensure the safe return of the kidnapped students.”

Sani also said that a community member who confronted the kidnappers during the attack was killed, adding that the President of Nigeria and the National Security Adviser were aware of the situation, and a security committee and a military base would be established in Korega to enhance security in the area.

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Kaduna State, which borders the Nigerian capital Abuja to the southwest, faces frequent incidents of kidnapping for ransom by bandits and has seen several mass kidnappings in recent years, including in the area where LEA Primary and Secondary School is located.

In 2021, gunmen kidnapped at least 140 students from a private high school. The incident came just months after gunmen kidnapped about 20 students from a private university in Kasarami village in Chikun, five of whom were killed after missing a ransom deadline, family members told CNN at the time.

Amnesty International office in Nigeria He condemned the kidnapping While it urged the authorities to take immediate measures “to prevent attacks on schools, and to protect the lives of children and their right to education.”

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