Around 400 students missing after gunmen attack Nigerian school

Around 400 students are missing after gunmen attacked a school in Nigeria with AK-47 assault rifles.

The attack on the Government Science Secondary School happened at about 9.40pm on Friday in Kankara, in the country’s northwestern Katsina state, police have confirmed.

It involved a large group of bandits who opened fire with AK-47 rifles, Katsina State police spokesman Gambo Isah said.

Police fired back and a gunfight took place “which gave (some of) the students the opportunity to scale the fence of the school and run for safety”, Mr Isah said.

So far, only 200 of the school’s 600 or so students are accounted for, Mr Isah added.

He said: “The police, Nigerian army, and Nigerian air force are working closely with the school authorities to ascertain the actual number of the missing and/or kidnapped students.

“Search parties are working with a view to find or rescue the missing students.”

One of the town’s residents, Mansur Bello, said the attackers took some of the students away and there were reports that an unknown number of them had been kidnapped.

President Muhammadu Buhari said in a statement that the military had located the kidnappers in a forest and was engaging them in gunfire, aided by support from the air.

Mr Buhari condemned the attack, which took place in his home state. He added that police and the military were still trying to work out how many were kidnapped and missing.

Katsina is riven by violence the government blames on bandits – an umbrella term for groups of outlaws who carry out kidnappings in order to demand a ransom.

Attacks by Islamist militants are also frequent in northeastern parts of the Nigeria.

This latest attack on a school is most serious incident since April 2014, when members of the jihadist group Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from their school dormitory in Chibok. About 100 of the girls are still missing.

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