Gunmen attacked a school in Nigeria’s Niger state on Wednesday, killing at least one student and abducting more than 40 people, including students and teachers, officials said.
The gunmen, thought to be bandits, fatally shot a student named Monday Doma during the attack at the Government Science College in Kagara.
They also abducted 27 students, three staff members and 12 relatives, Niger Governor Abubakar Sani Bello said.
Bello closed Niger’s schools and called on the federal government for assistance.
The gunmen chased the students across the school and shot one of them in the head as he tried to escape, said Awal Abdulrahman, the school’s head prefect.
“They attacked the first two houses [hostels] by the wall,” Abdulrahman said. “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.”
Aliyu Isah, a teacher at the school, said that the gunmen entered the premises at about 1:30am 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,” Isah said, adding that some wore camouflage or 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 [soccer] 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 coordinate the rescue operation and to meet with state officials, community leaders, parents and staff members of the college, Shehu said.
“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.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the incident, calling attacks on schools and educational facilities “abhorrent and unacceptable,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
“The secretary-general urges the Nigerian authorities to spare no efforts in rescuing those abducted and holding to account those responsible for this act,” Dujarric said.
No group has claimed responsibility for the college abductions.
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.
Three years after a deadly virus struck India’s endangered Asiatic lions in their last remaining natural habitat, conservationists are hunting for new homes to help booming prides roam free. The majestic big cats, slightly smaller than their African cousins and with a fold of skin along their bellies, were once found widely across southwest Asia. Hunting and human encroachment saw the population plunge to just 20 by 1913, and the lions are now found only in a wildlife sanctuary in India’s western Gujarat State. Following years of concerted government efforts, the lion population in Gir National Park has swelled to nearly 700, according
A rogue overgrown sheep found roaming through regional Australia has been shorn of his 35kg fleece — a weight even greater than that of the famous New Zealand sheep Shrek, who was captured in 2005 after six years on the loose. The merino ram, dubbed Baarack by rescuers, was discovered wandering alone with an extraordinarily overgrown wool coat, and was promptly shorn to save his life. Kyle Behrend, from the Edgar’s Mission farm sanctuary, said that it appeared Baarack was “once an owned sheep” who had escaped. Merino sheep do not shed their fleece and need to be shorn at least annually, as
‘GRAVE CONCERN’: A critic of the government died immediately following his complaints of torture at the hands of security forces, a human rights group said Students on Friday clashed with police in Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, as anger mounted at the death of a writer and government critic in a high-security jail. At least 18 police and an unknown number of protesters were injured in the clashes, authorities and witnesses said, amid international demands for an independent investigation into the death of Mushtaq Ahmed. An Agence France-Presse correspondent witnessed police using batons and firing tear gas at students who staged a torchlight march calling for “justice” near the University of Dhaka. At least six students who allegedly attacked security forces with torches were detained, police said. More protests were planned
DMZ SWIM: Over more than three hours, South Korean surveillance cameras caught him eight times and audible alarms sounded twice, but border guards did not notice A North Korean defector wore a diving suit and fins during a daring six-hour swim around one of the world’s most fortified borders and was only caught after apparently falling asleep, a Seoul official said. South Korean forces did not spot the man’s audacious exploit, despite his appearance several times on surveillance cameras after he landed and triggered alarms, drawing heavy criticism from media and opposition lawmakers. Even after his presence was noticed, the man — who used diving gear to make his way by sea around the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that divides the Korean Peninsula — was not caught for another