Issued on: 26/02/2021 – 10:22

Several hundred girls are missing after a raid by suspected armed bandits on a school hostel in Zamfara, northwest Nigeria, a teacher and parent told AFP on Friday, in what would be the latest mass kidnapping in the troubled region.

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A spokesman for Zamfara’s state governor, Zailani Bappa, said he saw reports of the attack on social media and checked with a police official who told him there had been abductions at a school in the state. He was unable to provide further details.

Heavily armed criminal gangs in northwest and central Nigeria have stepped up attacks in recent years, kidnapping for ransom, raping and pillaging.

“More than 300 girls are unaccounted for after a headcount of remaining students,” said a teacher at the Government Girls Secondary School Jangebe who asked to remain anonymous.

A parent told AFP he had received a call about the incident. 

“I’m on my way to Jangebe. I received a call that the school was invaded by bandits who took away schoolgirls. I have two daughters in the school,” said Sadi Kawaye.

Police have not yet confirmed the incident.

Last week, unidentified gunmen killed a student in an overnight attack on a boarding school in the north-central state of Niger and kidnapped 42 people, including 27 students. The hostages are yet to be released.

More than 300 boys were kidnapped from a school in December in Kankara, in President Muhammadu Buhari’s home state of Katsina, while he was visiting the region.

The boys were later released after negotiations with government officials but the incident triggered global outrage.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)