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Shoes belonging to students at the site of a recent kidnapping in Nigeria Shoes belonging to students at the site of a recent kidnapping in Nigeria  (AFP or licensors)

Hundreds of schoolgirls feared kidnapped in Nigeria

Unknown gunmen abduct hundreds of schoolgirls in the Nigerian state of Zamfara. It’s the latest in a spate of kidnappings targeting schools in recent weeks.

By Vatican News staff reporter

Up to 300 schoolgirls from the Nigerian town of Jangebe in the north-western state of Zamfara were seized early on Friday morning by unidentified gunmen.

According to the state’s information commissioner "Unknown gunmen came shooting sporadically and took the girls away" in a midnight raid on the Jangebe Government Girls' Secondary School.

It was the second such kidnapping in just over a week.

Recent abductions

Last week, unidentified gunmen killed a student in an attack on a boarding school in the north-central state of Niger and kidnapped 42 people, including 27 students.

The hostages have yet to be released.

This list of kidnappings continues to lengthen: In December, gunmen abducted 344 schoolboys from the town of Kankara in northwest Katsina state. They were freed after six days although the government said no ransom had been paid.

Reaction to attack

As security forces continued to search for the girls on Friday, the UN Children’s Agency UNICEF deplored the abductions saying "We are angered and saddened by yet another brutal attack on schoolchildren in Nigeria."

Schoolgirls in Borno state

The most high profile in this spate of abductions took place in 2014 when militant group Boko Haram abducted 276 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in Borno state.

Although many were found or rescued by the army or through negotiations between the government and Boko Haram, 100 are still missing.

Following this latest kidnapping, parents gathered at the school on Friday with witnesses saying that some had joined in the search for their missing children.

26 February 2021, 13:51