Hundreds of schoolgirls have been kidnapped in the north-western state of Zamfara. A teacher said that at least 300 learners were taken
Police say they believe the girls were taken to a forest after being abducted from their boarding school in Jangebe, Zamfara state, on Friday morning.
It is the latest mass kidnapping from schools in recent weeks. Armed gangs often seize schoolchildren for ransom.
President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the latest kidnapping as inhumane and totally unacceptable.
This administration will not succumb to blackmail by bandits who target innocent school students in the expectations of huge ransom payments,” he said in a statement.
Our primary objective is to get the hostages safe, alive and unharmed.
Mr Buhari said that although authorities could deploy massive force against the bandits, there were fears that the schoolgirls could be used as human shields.
Friday’s attack happened at 01:00 local time (midnight GMT) when a group of gunmen arrived at the Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe town with pick-up vehicles and motorcycles , a teacher told news site Punch.
Some of the gunmen were dressed as government security forces, the report said, adding that they forced the schoolgirls in the vehicles.
But other witnesses have told the BBC that the armed men arrived on foot at the school.
The witness said that more than 100 gunmen entered the school.
“They broke the school gate and shot at the security man. Then they moved into the hostels and woke up the girls, lying to them it’s time for prayers. After gathering all of them, the girls were crying and they took them away to the forest. They were also shooting in the air as they were marching to the forest, the witness said.
Distraught parents later gathered outside the school and some have gone out into the bush to look for their daughters, witnesses say.
A teacher said that of 421 students in the school at the time, only 55 had been accounted for.
A police statement said its officers and a military contingent had been deployed to Jangebe to search for the girls.
The UN children’s agency Unicef said it was ”angered and saddened” by yet another mass abduction of students in Nigeria describing it as ”brutal” and a ”violation of children’s rights.
Is it safe if as a Nigerian you should have a license gun?