Nigeria: ‘About 200’ children abducted after school ambushed by gunmen on motorbikes

Armed men on motorcycles have kidnapped a large number of children following the ambush of a school in Nigeria.

The pupils were at the Salihu Tanko Islamic School in Rafi, in the north-central Nigerian state of Niger, when they were abducted by the men, who were firing “indiscriminately”, said state police spokesman Wasiu Abiodun.

He said the abduction was carried out by “armed bandits on board motorcycles in their numbers” and while they were still trying to ascertain exact numbers, they believe around 200 children are missing.

All “tactical teams” have been mobilised to rescue the victims and the police will “ensure the children are rescued unhurt”, he said.

Armed groups carrying out kidnappings for ransom have been behind a series of raids on schools and universities in northern Nigeria in recent months, abducting more than 700 young people since December.

One of the most notable, was the mass abduction in April 2014 by jihadist group Boko Haram of 276 girls from a secondary school in Chibok in Borno state.

More than a hundred of the girls are still missing.

The worst incident this year occurred at the Government Girls Secondary School Jangebe in February, when 279 girls were abducted and later released.

On Saturday, 14 students were freed after being abducted last month from a university in neighbouring
Kaduna state.

In 2019, a British aid worker, Faye Mooney, was killed by kidnappers in the country.

Teachers have been forced to flee from state to state for protection, and many children have had to abandon their education amid frequent violent attacks in their communities.

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