Gunmen kidnap Nigerian school teachers

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Gunmen on motorbikes have stormed a primary school in northwestern Nigerian and kidnapped three teachers but no children, a state official has said after the fifth school abduction in three months.

It was the first attack on an elementary school in a wave of such attacks in which more than 700 people have been abducted since December.

Samuel Aruwan, Kaduna state's commissioner for internal security, said in a media briefing that Rema Primary School, in the state of Kaduna, was attacked on Monday morning.

He said children fled as gunmen, referred to locally as bandits, entered the compound shortly after pupils arrived.

"This led to two pupils going missing. We are happy to inform you that the two missing pupils have been found," Aruwan said. "We can also confirm that no single pupil was kidnapped from the school.

"The government can confirm that three teachers... have been kidnapped."

Nigeria's kidnapping scourge began with the seizure of 270 girls from a school in the northeastern town of Chibok by the Islamist insurgent group Boko Haram in 2014. About 100 of the schoolgirls have never been found.

Armed criminal gangs in Nigeria's widely lawless north have since carried out many copycat attacks seeking ransom.

The presidency said late in February that President Muhammadu Buhari had urged state governments to "review their policy of rewarding bandits with money and vehicles, warning the policy might boomerang disastrously".

Attempts by the military and police to tackle the gangs have had little success, while many worry that state authorities are making the situation worse by letting kidnappers go unpunished, paying them off or providing incentives.

Nigeria's federal government has said it will "take out" abductors after criticising local deals to free victims.

A presidency spokesman said he did not have the details of Monday's kidnapping.

Armed men attempted to kidnap more students in Kaduna state overnight on Sunday, as 39 others from an earlier attack in the state remain missing.