Gunmen kidnapped around 30 students in an overnight raid on a forestry college in northwest Nigeria, an official said on Friday, the fourth mass school abduction since December in a country where violence is on the increase, APA reports citing Reuters.
An armed gang broke into the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, located on the outskirts of Kaduna city near a military academy, at around 11:30 p.m. (2230 GMT) on Thursday, Kaduna state’s security commissioner, Samuel Aruwan said.
After a distress call, the army rescued 180 people in the early hours of Friday but “about 30 students, a mix of males and females, are yet to be accounted for”, he said.
“A combined team of army, air force, police and DSS (Department of State Services) troops are conducting an operation to track the missing students.”
The city is the capital of Kaduna state, part of a region where banditry has festered for years. Hours before the kidnapping, Nigeria’s federal government said it would “take out” abductors after earlier criticising local deals to free victims.
Kaduna resident Haruna Salisu said he had heard sporadic gunshots at around 11:30 p.m. on Thursday from the area of the compound, where the concrete perimeter wall had a large hole in it on Friday.
“We were not panicking, thinking that it was a normal military exercise being conducted at the (nearby) Nigerian Defence Academy,” he said by phone.
“We came out for dawn prayers, at 5:20 a.m., and saw some of the students, teachers and security personnel all over the school premises. They told us that gunmen raided the school and abducted some of the students.”
On Friday morning, relatives of students gathered at the gates of the college, which was surrounded by around 20 army trucks.