School uniforms hang in the deserted dormitory of the Government Girls Science Secondary School at Jangede, Zamfara State in northwest Nigeria, where more than 300 students were kidnapped by gunmen early Friday, local time.Habibu Iliyasu/AFP via Getty Images
Unidentified gunmen on Thursday attacked a government school and kidnapped 317 schoolgirls in the northwest Nigerian state of Zamfara, police said in a statement on Friday, the second such kidnapping in little over a week.
The attackers reportedly abducted Students and teachers killing one student.
Earlier, Sulaiman Tanau Anka, information commissioner for Zamfara state, told Reuters news agency that “unknown gunmen … took the girls away” in a midnight raid on the Jangebe Government Girls’ Secondary School.
The raid in Zamfara state, where the governor ordered all boarding schools to close immediately, was the second such kidnapping in little over a week in the country’s northwest, a region increasingly targeted by militants and criminal gangs.
Zamfara police said they had begun search-and-rescue operations with the army to find the “bandits” who took the 317 girls from the Government Girls Science Secondary School in the town of Jangebe.
“There’s information that they were moved to a neighbouring forest, and we are tracking and exercising caution,” Zamfara police commissioner Abutu Yaro told a news conference.
The assailants stormed in at around 1 a.m., firing sporadically, said Zamfara’s information commissioner, Sulaiman Tanau Anka.
“Information available to me said they came with vehicles and moved the students. They also moved some on foot,” he told Reuters.
By late Friday, there had been no claim of responsibility for the raid.
School kidnappings were first carried out by jihadist groups Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province but the tactic has now been adopted by other militants whose agenda is unclear.
The rise in abductions is fuelled in part by sizeable government payoffs in exchange for child hostages, catalysing a broader breakdown of security in the north, officials have said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Barely a week ago Kidnappers released 53 people, including women and children, seized on a bus in Nigeria while dozens of others taken from a school in a separate attack are still missing.
The freed bus passengers received medical check-ups before being reunited with their families, she added.
In a separate incident, 42 people, including 27 schoolboys, were abducted from a school last week and are still missing.
Out of some 276 girls who were kidnapped by the Boko Haram group from Chibok, at least 100 are still unaccounted for.