Skip to main content
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Gunmen attacked a school in Nigeria’s north-central Niger State early Wednesday, killing at least one student and abducting more than 40 people including students and teachers, according to officials.

The gunmen, thought to be bandits, fatally shot one student during the attack at Government Science College, Kagara. They also abducted 27 students, three staff members and 12 relatives, state Gov. Abubakar Sani Bello said.

Bello closed Niger State’s schools and called on the federal government for assistance.

Story continues below advertisement

The gunmen chased the students across the school and shot one of them in the head as he tried to escape, the school’s head prefect, Awal Abdulrahman, said.

“They attacked the first two houses (hostels) by the wall They entered the house and chased students who tried to escape They followed us shooting and in the process shot one of us in the head,” he said.

A teacher at the school, Aliyu Isah, said the gunmen entered the school premises at about 1:30 a.m. dressed in military camouflage and forced him to lead them to the students’ sleeping quarters where he and some students were tied up in pairs.

“They put me in front to lead them to the school hostel … They told the students not to worry, that they were soldiers,” he said, adding that some wore camouflage, army uniforms, and one wore a black coat.

“They gathered all the students outside but some ran into the bush,” he said. “I was thinking I would not be able to escape but luckily enough, Allah gave me a way to escape from them and I assisted the students that we were tied together … I ran toward the football field and they started shooting.”

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari directed the armed forces and police to ensure the immediate and safe return of all the people abducted, presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said in a statement.

Buhari dispatched a team of security chiefs to co-ordinate the rescue operation and to meet with state officials, community leaders and parents and staff members of the college, according to Shehu.

Story continues below advertisement

“President Buhari has assured of the support of his administration to the armed forces in their brave struggle against terrorism and banditry and urged them to do all that can be done to bring an end to this saga and avoid such cowardly attacks on schools in the future,” Shehu said.

The incident comes two months after gunmen abducted more than 300 schoolboys from a secondary school in Kankara, in northwestern Nigeria’s Katsina State. The students were later released.

On Sunday, a gunmen attacked a bus belonging to the Niger State Transport Authority and abducted at least 21 passengers.

On Tuesday, a statement from the office of state Commissioner of Information Mohammed Idris said 10 people had been freed from the kidnappers. Ransom was not paid to secure their release, he said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the college abductions in Kagara. Nigeria’s jihadist rebels, Boko Haram, are opposed to western education and in the past have carried out mass abductions of schoolchildren as part of its violent campaign to establish an Islamic State in Nigeria.

Several highly organized armed groups, locally called bandits, often abduct students for money.

Story continues below advertisement

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies