Police in northwest Nigeria said 317 students were abducted by gunmen on Friday in the country’s latest mass kidnapping, and a rescue operation was underway.
“The Zamfara State Police Command in collaboration with the military have commenced a joint search and rescue operations with a view to rescuing the 317 students kidnapped by the armed bandits in Government Girls Science Secondary School Jangebe,” police spokesman Mohammed Shehu said in a statement.
Heavily-armed criminal gangs known locally as “bandits” in northwest and central Nigeria have stepped up attacks in recent years, kidnapping for ransom, raping and pillaging.
Just last week, 42 people were taken by a gang from a boys school in nearby Niger state.
In December, more than 300 boys were kidnapped from a school in Kankara, in President Muhammadu Buhari’s home state of Katsina, while he was visiting the region.
The boys were later released but the incident triggered outrage and memories of the kidnappings of schoolgirls by jihadists in Dapchi and Chibok that shocked the world.
The federal government has not yet officially commented on this latest mass kidnapping.