Unidentified gunmen abducted a one-year-old child along with an unknown number of children from the staff quarters of a hospital in northern Nigeria on Sunday, the BBC reported.
“At least eight people were … abducted from the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Centre in Zaria early on Sunday morning [July 4],” the BBC reported on July 5. The British broadcaster said it spoke to an unidentified member of the hospital’s staff who said, “Two nurses and a 12-month-old child were among those seized.”
The incident occurred in the city of Zaria, located in Nigeria’s Kaduna State. An unknown number of gunmen stormed the medical center and kidnapped “five staff of the hospital, including female nurses,” in addition to an unconfirmed number of children and babies, Nigeria’s Daily Trust newspaper reported on Sunday.
“The bandits, who were said to have stormed the place in large numbers, engaged officers from a nearby police station in a gun battle,” the newspaper reported.
“[T]here was a heavy shootout during the operation,” a staff member at the hospital told the Daily Trust anonymously, adding that “the principal security guard on duty was among the people abducted.”
“Those kidnapped were our staff living at the staff quarters, some were abducted alongside their children. So, about ten people were taken away so far,” he revealed.
The hospital’s public relations officer, Maryam Abdulrazaq, told the Daily Trust on Sunday she had by then documented at least six confirmed kidnappings during the incident.
“So far, I have six names of the people abducted but I will try to get the remaining four names by Monday God willing. The principal Security guard on duty, two nurses, Joy Yakubu and Odor and her baby, Lab Technician, Christiana, Kasim from Auditorium office were among those kidnapped,” Abdulrazaq said.
A public relations officer for the Kaduna State Police Force named Mohammed Jalige also confirmed the incident to the Daily Trust on July 4, telling the publication that “efforts are on to rescue the victims.”
The newspaper said its reporter visited both the hospital and the local police station in Zaria on July 4 where shootouts between the gunmen and security officials took place.
“When our correspondent visited the police division and the centre, bullet holes were visible on the fence,” the Daily Trust relayed.
“The attackers were said to have blocked the bridge linking the village [outside Zaria] with [the proper] Zaria town, to obviously thwart any reinforcement by the police,” the newspaper further revealed.
Authorities did not offer any indication they had identified the gunmen or their motive.