KADUNA, 12 March 2021 – Unidentified gunmen have abducted an unknown number of students from a college in the state of Kaduna, in northern Nigeria.
The exact number of students abducted had not yet been ascertained at Friday afternoon.
A head count of abducted or missing students has been made complicated by the fact that some students fled from the campus during the attack and may be still unaccounted for, but not necessarily in captivity.
In a statement issued Friday afternoon by Samuel Aruwan, the commissioner for internal security and social affairs for the Kaduna state government, about 30 students, a mix of males and females, are yet to be accounted for.
On the positive side, the statement added, 180 people have been rescued.
The assailants stormed the college at about 11.30 PM on Thursday night, firing into the air, kidnapping and leading away many students – a majority of them female, according to accounts by eyewitnesses and security officials.
The attack targeted students at the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, located near a military training academy.
According to Aruwan, “troops of the Nigerian Army immediately moved to the school [after getting a distress call] and engaged the armed bandits”.
“The troops successfully rescued 180 citizens – 42 female students, eight staff and 130 male students,” the official added.
Parents and relatives converged on the college campus early Friday after news of the raid broke, reuniting with their children or awaiting news on the fate of the students still in captivity.
People living in the vicinity of the college said they thought the overnight gunfire was some military exercise.
One resident said he feared that it could be the kind of explosions that rocked the mainland town of Bata in Equatorial Guinea, killing 105 people and injuring 615 others.
Five raids by unidentified gunmen have hit student dormitories across northern Nigerian states since last December, leading to close to 800 students being kidnapped, held in captivity briefly and then released after the assailants are paid ransoms.