Advertisement

Nigeria: Gunmen kidnap 15 children in dawn raid on school

A boy holds a sign to protest against the kidnapping of hundreds of school pupils (REUTERS)
A boy holds a sign to protest against the kidnapping of hundreds of school pupils (REUTERS)

Gunmen kidnapped at least 15 students from a school in Nigeria's northwestern Sokoto state in a dawn raid on Saturday.

The kidnapping came days after some 300 students were abducted by a gang in northern Kaduna state.

The gunmen forced their way into the school premises in the Sokoto village of Gidan Bakuso and started firing shots sporadically, waking and causing panic among the students, who ran for cover, said school owner Liman Abubakar Bakuso.

"They succeeded in abducting 15 of my students, the oldest being 20 and 15, but all the others are below 13," Bakuso told the Reuters news agency, adding that a woman had also been kidnapped.

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

Police in the state have not yet publicly commented, the news agency reported.

Kidnappings at schools in Nigeria were first carried out by jihadist group Boko Haram, which seized more than 200 students from a girls' school in Chibok in Borno state a decade ago, causing global outrage.

But the tactic has since been adopted by criminal gangs without any ideological affiliation seeking ransom payments, authorities say.

Nigeria's security forces are stretched fighting an Islamist insurgency in the northeast, leaving vast swathes of land unpoliced and armed gangs to roam freely.

In Kaduna, the state governor told the BBC at least 28 of the schoolchildren kidnapped earlier this week had managed to escape their captors.

Until Thursday's abduction in Kaduna, Nigeria had witnessed a lull in mass kidnappings from schools since July 2021 when some 150 students were seized by armed men.