Armed attackers kidnap 140 students from a boarding school in Nigeria

Armed attackers kidnap 140 students from a boarding school in Nigeria
Armed attackers kidnap 140 students from a boarding school in Nigeria

Gunmen kidnapped 140 students from a boarding school in northwestern Nigeria on Monday, a school official said, the latest in a wave of mass abductions targeting schoolchildren and students.

Heavily-armed criminal gangs in northwest and central Nigeria often attack villages to loot, steal cattle and abduct for ransom, but since the start of the year they have increasingly targeted schools and colleges.

The attackers opened fire and overpowered security guards after storming the Bethel Baptist High School in Kaduna state in the early hours of Monday, abducting most of the 165 pupils boarding there overnight.

'The kidnappers took away 140 students, only 25 students escaped. We still have no idea where the students were taken,' Emmanuel Paul, a teacher at the school said. 

Dozens of distraught parents gathered at the school compound on Monday, some weeping and crying out, as they stood awaiting news of the missing children.  

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Gunmen kidnapped 140 students from a boarding school in northwestern Nigeria on Monday, a school official said, the latest in a wave of mass abductions targeting schoolchildren and students. Pictured: Parents stand beside a signpost of Bethel Baptist School as they await news of the missing children

Gunmen kidnapped 140 students from a boarding school in northwestern Nigeria on Monday, a school official said, the latest in a wave of mass abductions targeting schoolchildren and students. Pictured: Parents stand beside a signpost of Bethel Baptist School as they await news of the missing children

Dormitories containing metal bunk beds and cupboards were deserted at the school

Dormitories containing metal bunk beds and cupboards were deserted at the school

Discarded sandals lay strewn nearby. Dormitories containing metal bunk beds and cupboards were deserted. 

'May God take away their tears and the suffering that they will face in the hands of the kidnappers,' said a woman pointing at a hole in the school's perimeter where the attackers entered. 

Kaduna state police spokesman Muhammed Jalige confirmed the attack but could not give details on the number of pupils taken.

'Tactical police teams went after the kidnappers,' he said. 'We are still on the rescue mission.' 

Police said they had safely rescued 26 people, including a female teacher. 

His voice breaking, parent John Evans said he had recently told his daughter that God would protect her while she studied at the school.

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'Just this morning at about 6, I received a phone call that they have entered the school...kidnappers, that all our children are packed (taken), including my daughter,' he said. 'We rushed down here, we confirmed that they are all packed.'  

A student's mathematics book is left on a bed after more than a 100 children were abducted

A student's mathematics book is left on a bed after more than a 100 children were abducted

The shoes of abducted boarding school students lie on the floor after 140 children were kidnapped

The shoes of abducted boarding school students lie on the floor after 140 children were kidnapped

Roughly 180 students attended the school and were in the process of sitting exams, according to Hayab, whose 17-year-old son escaped, and parent, Hassana Markus, whose daughter was among those missing. 

This is the fourth abduction of students in Kaduna state in the

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