Vatican News English Africa Services
In a sign of the total breakdown of security in the north of Africa's most populous country, unidentified gunmen kidnapped a number of schoolgirls from the town of Jangebe in northwest Nigeria early on Friday, a Reuters report has said. A state spokesman confirmed the abductions, the second such kidnapping in little over a week.
Sulaiman Tanau Anka, the Information Commissioner for Zamfara state, told Reuters, that it was not immediately clear how many children had been seized, . Some reports say the number of abducted students might be as many as 300.
Terror in the night
According to the Information Commissioner, the kidnapping took place about midnight.
"Unknown gunmen came shooting sporadically and took the girls away," Anka said. "Information available to me said they came with vehicles and moved the students; they also moved some on foot," Anka said.
Security forces have launched a search for the schoolgirls.
The relentless attacks on school children and citizens
There has been an unprecedented surge in armed militancy in the northwest of Nigeria.
Last week, unidentified gunmen killed a student in an overnight attack on a boarding school in the north-central state of Niger and kidnapped 42 people, including 27 students. The hostages are yet to be released.
A mix of Boko Haram, herdsmen, criminal gangs, Islamist insurgents
Hundreds of people have been killed in the north by criminal gangs carrying out robberies and kidnappings. The country is also struggling to contain Islamist insurgencies in the northeast and communal violence over grazing rights in central states.
In the most notorious kidnapping in Nigeria in recent years, Boko Haram militants abducted 276 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in Borno state in April 2014. Some of the girls were eventually rescued by security forces or escaped. Others are still missing.
Anger against insecurity
There is growing public anger over the violence, prompting President Muhammadu Buhari to replace his long-standing military chiefs earlier this month amid worsening violence. The country's armed forces are also continuing to fight to reclaim some northeastern towns overrun by insurgents.