Gunmen kill one boy and kidnap at least 40 people at Nigerian school


<p>Some of the children kidnapped in December by Boko Haram being returned</p> (AFP/Getty)

Some of the children kidnapped in December by Boko Haram being returned


Gunmen have shot dead at least one child and kidnapped at least 40 pupils and adults as they attacked a school in Nigeria.

The gunmen pretended to be soldiers as they swooped on the Government Science College, Kagara, in Nigeria’s north-central Niger State, witnesses said.

The boy who was killed had been trying to run away when the shot was fired, they reported.

Teacher Aliyu Isah said that when the gunmen in military camouflage burst in, they forced him to lead them to the pupils’ sleeping quarters. There, the attackers then tied him and some of the children up in pairs.

“They put me in front to lead them to the school hostel ... They told the students not to worry, that they were soldiers,” he said, adding that some wore army uniforms.

The gunmen chased other pupils across the school and shot one of them in the head as he tried to escape, according to the school’s head prefect, Awal Abdulrahman.

“They attacked the first two houses [hostels] by the wall. They entered the house and chased students who tried to escape. They followed us, shooting, and in the process shot one of us in the head,” he said.

Mr Isah said: “They gathered all the students outside but some ran into the bush.

“I was thinking I would not be able to escape but luckily enough, Allah gave me a way to escape from them and I assisted the students that we were tied together. I ran toward the football field and they started shooting.”

According to local reports, about 26 students and 16 staff and family members were abducted. Authorities were trying to work out exact numbers.

Niger state governor Abubakar Sani Bello closed the state’s schools and called on President Muhammadu Buhari for help in improving security.

No group has admitted the kidnappings, but Nigeria’s jihadist rebels, Boko Haram, are opposed to western education, and in the past have carried out mass abductions of schoolchildren as part of their violent campaign to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria.

Several highly organised armed groups often abduct students for money.

In December, gunmen abducted more than 300 schoolboys from a secondary school in Kankara, Katsina State. The boys were later released.

The new attack came three days after gunmen targeted a bus, abducting at least 21 passengers, in Niger.

On Tuesday, the commissioner of information in the state, Mohammed Idris, said 10 people had been freed, with no ransom paid.

About 100 of more than 270 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram from the town of Chibok in 2014 are still in captivity.

That has been a factor in fuelling widespread criticism over the spreading violence by Islamist insurgents and armed gangs.



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