Unidentified gunmen have abducted an estimated 300 girls from their school in northwestern Nigeria, the second case of a school mass kidnapping in less than 10 days, a local official says.
The children were kidnapped from their secondary school in the town of Jangebe, in Zamfara State on Friday morning (local time), a government official told news agency dpa.
"Two of my daughters aged 10 and 13 are among the about 300 girls the school authorities told us are missing," parent Nasiru Abdullahi said.
Police, military and law enforcement officers have begun wide-scale ground and aerial searches in desperate efforts to rescue the girls.
There are believed to be up to 317 students missing. There have been unconfirmed reports seven of the abducted girls escaped and managed to trek through bushland to safety.
According to local media, the armed suspects entered the government school's grounds, where girls also sleep, wearing the Nigerian security forces uniform.
They were understood to belong to an unknown terrorist group.
Images from rooms inside the school showed rows of empty bunk beds where the girls had earlier been sleeping.
Nigerian minister of humanitarian affairs Sadiya Umar-Farouq described the attack "a slap on the face of education".
Just ten days earlier, on February 16, at least 44 people, most of them children, were abducted from a school near the community of Kagara in west-central Niger State.
The captives have yet to be released.
“The reported mass abduction of over 300 students from their hostels at Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, Talata Marafa Local Government Area, is sad and must be condemned especially with the Kagara boys still in captivity," Umar-Farouq said.
“The continuing attack on schools and students is a slap on the face of education and progress because education is critical to making a better and progressive society."
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