Armed men kidnap 150 children after storming school

·2-min read

About 150 students are missing after armed men raided a boarding school in Nigeria's Kaduna state, a parent and an administrator say.

The attack on the Bethel Baptist High School is the 10th mass kidnapping at an educational establishment since December in northwest Nigeria, which authorities have attributed to armed bandits seeking ransom payments.

Dozens of distraught parents gathered at the school compound, standing in groups awaiting news. Discarded sandals lay strewn nearby.

Dormitories containing metal bunk beds and cupboards were deserted.

"May God take away their tears and the suffering that they will face in the hands of the kidnappers," said a woman pointing at a hole in the school's perimeter where the attackers entered.

Empty desks and chairs are seen at the Government Girls Secondary School where more than 300 girls were abducted by gunmen in March. Source: AP
About 150 students are missing after armed men raided a boarding school in Nigeria's Kaduna state. Source: AP

"Just this morning at about six, I received a phone call that they have entered the school...kidnappers, that all our children are packed (taken), including my daughter," parent John Evans said.

"We rushed down here, we confirmed that they are all packed."

Police said gunmen shooting wildly attacked overnight and overpowered the school's security guards, taking an unspecified number of students into a nearby forest.

A police statement said 26 people including a female teacher had been rescued.

Reverend John Hayab, a founder of the school, told Reuters about 25 students had managed to escape while the rest remained missing.

Students were taking exams

Roughly 180 students attend the school and were in the process of sitting exams, according to Mr Hayab, whose 17-year-old son escaped, and parent Hassana Markus whose daughter was among those missing.

Local residents told Reuters security officials had cordoned off the school after the attack, which took place between 11pm on Sunday and 4am on Monday.

Authorities ordered the immediate closure of Bethel Baptist and 12 other schools in the area.

Armed men, known locally as bandits, have made an industry of kidnapping students for ransom in northwest Nigeria, with Kaduna state particularly hard hit.

They have taken nearly 1000 people from schools since December last year, more than 150 of whom remain missing.

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