Gunmen kidnap dozens of students from school in northern Nigeria

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Gunmen kidnapped dozens of school students in northern Nigeria on Thursday, residents and parents of the missing children said, in what would be the biggest abduction targeting a school since 2021.

Police in Kaduna state did not immediately comment on the abductions, which happened shortly after morning assembly at the Local Government Education Authority School in the town of Kuriga.

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The number of pupils taken was not immediately clear.

“As we speak, people are writing down the names of their children that have gone to the school today and are not back. It is after these statistics that we will know exactly the number” of missing, said Salisu Ahmed Kuriga, whose three younger brothers were missing.

Parents said that on arrival at the school the gunmen started shooting sporadically before abducting dozens of pupils and disappearing into the bush.

The school was housing primary and secondary school students.

“We don’t know what to do, we are all waiting to see what God can do. They are my only children I have on Earth,” Fatima Usman, whose two children were among those abducted, told Reuters by phone.

Another parent, Hassan Abdullahi, said local vigilantes had tried to repel the gunmen but were overpowered.

“Seventeen of the students abducted are my children. I feel very sad that the government has neglected us completely in this area,” Abdullahi said.

Kidnappings for ransom by armed men have become endemic in northern Nigeria, disrupting daily lives and keeping thousands of children from attending school.

The last major reported abduction involving school children was in June 2021 when gunmen took more than 80 students in a raid on a school in northwestern state of Kebbi.

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