Nigeria: Unknown Gunmen Abduct 200 Children from Islamic School

Parents are reunited with their daughter in Jangabe, Nigeria, Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Mo
AP Photo/Sunday Alamba

Unidentified terrorists abducted “about 200” children from an Islamic studies school in northern Nigeria on Sunday, Sky News reported.

An unknown number of gunmen on motorcycles stormed the town of Tegina in western Nigeria’s Niger state on May 30, state police spokesman Wasiu Abiodun told reporters. Local authorities “were still trying to ascertain” the exact number of students abducted from Salihu Tanko Islamic School on Sunday, Abiodun said, adding “they believe around 200 children are missing.”

“The bandits reportedly seized the police station in the town and went round the town shooting sporadically into the air to scare residents before breaking into a private school where they abducted children attending Islamic lectures,” Nigeria’s Premium Times reported on May 30.

“[T]he bandits … were able to separate the smaller children from the elderly and strong ones, taking away those in the latter group to an unknown destination,” Nigeria’s This Day reported on Sunday, citing eyewitness accounts.

“One person was shot dead while another was critically injured after gunmen attacked the school at about 4:30 pm yesterday,” This Day reported in an updated post on May 31, without revealing if the people were adults or children.

“A resident of the area, Zayyad Mohammed, confirmed the incident to [Nigeria’s] Channels Television in a telephone interview,” This Day added.

The Premium Times wrote that Salihu Tanko Islamic School in Tegina “consists of nursery and primary schools,” while the BBC reported on Sunday the school “is attended by boys and girls, aged six to 18.”

The BBC interviewed an unidentified instructor at Salihu Tanko Islamic School on Sunday who believed “150 students were missing” from the Islamic studies center.

Yakubu Idris, identified as the “proprietor” of Salihu Tanko Islamic School by the Premium Times, told the newspaper on Sunday “the gunmen went away with many students, including his younger sister.”

“It is difficult to say the number of students that were abducted,” Idris said.

Tegina is located about ten miles from the town of Kagara, where unidentified gunmen abducted “42 people, including 27 students, three school staff, and 12 members of their families” from a local school on February 17, according to Deutsche Welle (DW), which noted that “one boy was killed during the raid.”

All persons kidnapped in Kagara on February 17 were released by their captors on February 27, according to a statement issued by Niger State Gov. Abubakar Sani Bello.

“The Abducted Students, Staff and Relatives of Government Science Collage Kagara have regained their freedom and have been received by the Niger State Government [sic],” Gov. Bello wrote in a statement posted to his Twitter account.


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