MAIDUGURI, Nigeria – A large group of children were feared from a school in the northwestern Nigerian state of Zamfara the last time there were mass kidnappings in the area, local residents and a school employee said Wednesday.
Since December 2020, more than 1,100 students have been kidnapped from their schools or colleges in northwestern Nigeria.
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Mass kidnappings, a tactic used by Islamist insurgents in the northeast in earlier years, have more recently been carried out in the northwest by armed gangs in search of ransom.
The most recent incident occurred at a secondary school in the city of Kaya, several residents told Reuters. Kaya is in a rural area of Zamfara, one of the hardest hit states.
A school employee who could be reached by phone confirmed an attack and said the number of kidnapped children was not yet known as the count was in progress. He said more than 500 children are enrolled in the school.
Zamfara is one of four states in northwestern Nigeria that have taken measures to contain the security crisis.
They banned the sale of petrol in cans and the transportation of firewood by truck in hopes of disrupting gangs who travel on motorcycles and camp in the woods.