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Six people abducted from university in Nigerian capital

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Security forces patrol as people wait for the arrival of rescued schoolgirls in Jangebe, Zamfara, Nigeria, on March 3, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

Gunmen abduct six people from a university in Nigeria's capital, marking the first attack to large institutions in Abuja since a wave of school kidnappings began in the country more than a year ago.

The University of Abuja said in a statement on its Facebook page on Tuesday, "Suspected bandits attacked the staff quarters of the university in the early hours of today. We have a report that four of our staff and their children were... abducted."

A resident said the assailants invaded the senior staff quarters at Giri in the Gwagwalada Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) at 1 am and operated for about an hour.

Murtala Muhammed, a university employee who witnessed the attack, said, "They arrived at the quarters and started shooting and shooting."

Police spokesperson Josephine Adeh said security forces had launched operations to find and rescue the hostages.

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the incident.

Last month, security forces rescued 187 kidnapped people during raids on the camps of criminal gangs in dense forests in Zamfara State, where they had been abducted in separate attacks.

Nigeria has been beset by a dramatic breakdown of security since heavily-armed criminal gangs in the country's northwest and central regions stepped up attacks, kidnapping for ransom and engaging in other acts of violence. Nigerian armed forces have been deployed in the restive regions but attacks and mass kidnappings persist.

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