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Armed bandits attack another Nigerian school as 39 students still missing

Parents gather during a meeting at the Government Science school after gunmen abducted students from it, in Kankara, in northwestern Katsina state, Nigeria, on December 13, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

A group of heavily-armed gunmen have attempted to kidnap more students in Nigeria's Kaduna state where about 40 students from an earlier attack remain missing. 

A state government official said that police, army and others had repelled attacks on another school and at a local government office near Kaduna airport overnight on Sudnay. 

"The Kaduna state government extends its unequivocal solidarity to the military, police, Department of State Services and other security agencies, whose swift intervention prevented the bandits from abducting more persons," media outlets quoted Samuel Aruwan, Kaduna state commissioner of internal security and home affairs, as saying. 

All 307 students at the Government Science Secondary School in Ikara were accounted for, Aruwan said. 

"As a government, our focus is on getting back our missing students and preventing further episodes of school abductions," Aruwan said. 

Elsewhere in his remarks, the official said that the army and air force also repelled an attack on senior staff quarters in Ifira village in Igabi local government area.
Attacks by armed gangs, usually referred to as bandits, have intensified across northwest Nigeria in recent years.

Four school kidnappings since December have provoked nationwide outrage. 

Some 39 students, including a pregnant woman, are still missing from Thursday's abduction from the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, in the country's  troubled northwest.

A video recently emerged showing a group of students kidnapped from a school in northwest Nigeria beaten hard by armed men in a forest.

The footage, shared on social media, showed roughly two dozen students begging for help in English and Hausa, while cowering on a forest floor as armed captors hit them with sticks.

One student says in the video that the captors seek a 500 million-naira ($1.31 million) ransom.

Also in mid-December 2020, groups of gunmen kidnapped hundreds of schoolboys in Katsina State. They released the boys days later after negotiations with the government.

In 2014, 276 schoolgirls were abducted in the northeastern town of Chibok. A foreign-brokered deal enabled the release of 103 of the girls in October 2016 and May 2017.

Authorites say gangs involved in the kidnappings are driven by financial motives, but security officials are concerned that they are being infiltrated by Takfiri terrorists from the northern and northeastern states.

Those parts of the country have been wracked by years of violence involving Boko Haram and the West Africa Province (ISWAP) branch of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

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