Gunmen have attacked a government school in Northwestern Nigeria on Wednesday, killing one student, abducting over 40 students, including teachers and relatives.
The gunmen are not affiliated with any terrorist groups but are a group of “bandits”– criminals who specialize in kidnapping for ransom, cattle rustling, and sexual slavery.
Government Science College (GSC), an all-boys school in Kagara Town, Niger state, was on the early hours of Wednesday attacked by heavily armed men in military uniforms, ordered the boys out of their hostels, told them to gather in groups then made away with 27 of them, 3 of their teachers and 12 relatives of the school staff, according to the Niger state governor, Abubakar Sanni Bello.
It was not immediately clear why one of the boys was killed or the circumstances that led to his death. Recall that in December of 2020, gunmen also abducted about 300 schoolboys from a government school in the president’s home state of Katsina but were later released.
In condemning the attack, the president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari,” has directed the armed forces and police to ensure the immediate and safe return of all the captives.” This was contained in a statement released by one of his media aides, Shehu Garba.
Abductions and kidnapping for ransom have been on the rise in recent times across the three regions of Northern Nigeria—North West, North Central, and North East, which has been the ground for religious extremism and insurgency in the last decade.
The activities of these “bandits” have been a source of worry to the Nigerian military intelligence. The attacks are becoming more frequent and easier for these armed groups to carry out. Abductions and kidnappings are now an everyday occurrence in North-West Nigeria.
This is despite so many air raids and military operations targeted at weakening them and their activities, but these armed groups capitalize on Nigeria’s weak military architecture to wreak havoc and continue to operate in Northern Nigeria.
The governor of Niger state has ordered the immediate closure of all schools in the state due to this particular school attack and abduction.