Nigeria: Fifteen children kidnapped from Sokoto school just two days after nearly 300 students taken hostage

Fifteen children were kidnapped from a school in Nigeria, almost two days after around 300 students were taken hostage.

Gunmen invaded the Gidan Bakuso village in Sokoto state at about 1am (12am UK time) on Saturday, police spokesman Ahmad Rufa'i said.

The gang seized the children from their hostel before security forces could arrive, and also abducted one woman from the village.

Mr Rufa'i said that a police tactical squad was deployed to search for the students, but added that inaccessible roads in the area have hindered the rescue mission.

"It is a remote village (and) vehicles cannot go there," he said. "They (the police squad) had to use motorcycles to the village."

School owner Liman Abubakar Bakuso told Reuters that the gunmen sporadically fired shots while in the village and that students ran for cover in panic.

"They succeeded in abducting 15 of my students, the oldest being 20 and 15, but all the others are below 13," he said.

"We are in a state of panic and have been praying hard for their safe release."

It is the third mass abduction in the West African nation in less than a week, after at least 287 school pupils were taken by gunmen attacking a school.

Locals told reporters that gunmen surrounded the school in Kuriga town around 8am local time on Thursday, just as classes were about to start.

"We will ensure that every child will come back," Uba Sani, governor of Kaduna state, told villagers on Thursday. "We are working with the security agencies."

On 6 March, a group suspected to be Islamist insurgents abducted 50 people, mostly women, in the remote Gamboru area - on the border with Chad and Cameroon.

No group claimed responsibility for any of the abductions.

On Saturday, Nigeria's vice president Kashim Shettima met with some parents of the abducted Kuriga students, and assured them of efforts to find and rescue the children.

Read more:
On board Jordan's flight airdropping aid to desperate Gazans
Nigeria bank boss killed in California helicopter crash

The latest kidnapping also comes a decade after members of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram abducted 276 female students in a night-time attack.

According to Amnesty International, more than 90 of the kidnapped students are still missing after being taken from a government secondary school in the Borno state town of Chibokare.

Some 1,500 students have been kidnapped in raids since 2014. In recent years, the abductions have been concentrated in northwestern and central regions, where dozens of armed groups often target villagers and travellers for huge ransoms.