Hundreds of Nigerian students are missing after gunmen attacked a secondary school in the country’s north-western Katsina state, police have confirmed.
The Government Science secondary school in Kankara was attacked on Friday night by a large group of bandits who shot “with AK-47 rifles”, a state police spokesman said.
Officers engaged the attackers “in a gun duel which gave [some of] the students the opportunity to scale the fence of the school and run for safety”, the spokesman, Gambo Isah, said in a statement. About 400 students were missing, Isah added. The school is believed to have more than 600 students.
“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,” said Isah. “Search parties are working with a view to find or rescue the missing students.”
A resident of the town, Mansur Bello, told the Associated Press that the attackers took some of the students away.
It is the latest attack on a school by gunmen in Nigeria. The most serious incident occurred in April 2014, when members of the jihadist group Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from their school dormitory in Chibok, in north-eastern Borno state. About 100 of the girls are still missing.
Friday’s attack is believed to have been carried out by one of several groups of bandits active in north-western Nigeria. The groups are notorious for kidnapping people for ransom.