May 19, 2024

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Gunmen attacked a primary school in Nigeria’s northwest region on Thursday morning and abducted at least 100 pupils as they were about to start the school day, local residents and authorities told The Associated Press.

Abductions of students from schools in northern Nigeria are common and have become a source of concern since 2014 when Islamic extremists kidnapped over 200 schoolgirls in Borno state’s Chibok village. In recent years, the abductions have been concentrated in the northwest and central regions where dozens of armed groups often target villagers and travelers for huge ransoms.

Authorities were still trying to confirm the exact number of pupils abducted in the attack but it was “far more than 100,” according to Salasi Musa, chairman of the Chikun council area in Kaduna state where the incident happened.

The assailants stormed a government primary school in Chikun’s Kuriga town shortly after morning assembly past 8 a.m., taking the pupils hostage before any help could come, said Joshua Madami, a youth leader in the area.

“They were surrounded from all angles and left with almost 200 pupils and students (whose studies have been moved to the school),” said Madami.

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