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Gunmen kidnapped dozens of schoolchildren and teachers after an attack on a boarding school in central Nigeria.

During the early hours of February 17, heavily armed gunmen in military uniforms took control of an all-boys Government Science College in Kagara Town. At least one student died during the 2am attack. According to the Niger state government, kidnappers took 27 students, 3 teachers and over a dozen family members of school staff. Earlier reports indicated the figure was rather in the hundreds.

According to the Guardian, the government suspect an armed group known as the “bandits” as responsible for the attack. The group have terrorised north-west and central Nigeria in the past few years. It has led to an increase of killings, sexual violence and mass kidnappings in the area.

This attack follows suit to an abduction in December where an armed group kidnapped 300 schoolboys. The government paid a ransom for the kidnappers to release the boys. The Nigerian government have not commented whether they have been asked to pay a ransom for the most recent kidnapping.

The state governor has ordered all boarding schools in the area to close to prevent any further risk. A spokesperson for the Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, states that “the president has directed the armed forces and police to ensure immediate and safe return of all the captives.” However, at the time of publishing, police have not found the abducted schoolchildren.

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