Armed bandits raid Nigerian school - hundreds of pupils missing

A view of a classroom at the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara district, Katsina state, northwestern Nigeria, after it was attacked by armed bandits on December 12 2020.
A view of a classroom at the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara district, Katsina state, northwestern Nigeria, after it was attacked by armed bandits on December 12 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Abdullahi Inuwa

Bandits armed with assault rifles attacked a secondary school in Nigeria's northwestern Katsina state late on Friday, police said, and two local people told Reuters hundreds of pupils were missing.

The gunmen stormed the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara district at about 9.40pm, and police at the scene returned fire, allowing some pupils to run for safety, police spokesperson Gambo Isah said in a statement.

Police said they were working with the army and air force to determine how many pupils were missing or kidnapped, and to find them. One officer was shot and wounded in the exchange of fire with the gang, they said.

There were chaotic scenes at the school on Saturday as desperate parents and security personnel gathered to search for about half of the school's 800 pupils who were still missing, one parent and a school employee told Reuters.

Katsina, the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, is plagued by violent bandits who regularly attack locals and kidnap for ransom. Attacks by Islamist militants are common in northeastern parts of the country.

Violence and insecurity across Nigeria have enraged citizens, particularly after scores of farmers were killed, some beheaded, by Islamist militants in northeast Borno state late last month.

Buhari, who arrived on Friday for a week in his home village about 200km from Kankara, was scheduled to brief the National Assembly on the security situation last week, but cancelled the appearance without official explanation.

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