Heavily-armed assailants kidnap 140 students in northwest Nigeria
Unknown gunmen have attacked a boarding school in northwestern Nigeria and kidnapped 140 students, the latest in a series of mass abductions targeting schoolchildren and pupils in the African country.
The attack took place at the Baptist High School in southern Kaduna state in the early hours of Monday, with a school official saying 25 students had managed to escape.
"The kidnappers took away 140 students, only 25 students escaped. We still have no idea where the students were taken," said Emmanuel Paul, a teacher at the school.
Kaduna state police spokesman Mohammed Jalige confirmed the report of the assault but he 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."
Bethel Baptist High School is a co-education college established by Baptist church in 1991 at Maramara village in Chikun district outside the state capital Kaduna.
Since December last year, around 1,000 students and pupils have been abducted by heavily-armed criminal gangs in different Nigerian states, with some of them having been released after negotiations with local officials and ransom payments.
Last month, armed assailants attacked a secondary school in the remote town of Birnin Yauri in Nigeria's northwestern state of Kebbi, killing a police officer and abducting five teachers as well as an unspecified number of students.