At least 30 Nigerian students have been kidnapped after gunmen attacked their schools, authorities said, according to the Associated Press.
The armed abduction occurred Thursday night at the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, in Kaduna state located in northwestern Nigeria, the Associated Press reported.
“About 30 students, a mix of males and females, are yet to be accounted for,” a statement from Commissioner for Kaduna State Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs Samuel Aruwan read, according to the Associated Press. Members of the college staff were also kidnapped with the students, Aruwan told the Associated Press.
KDSG Security Update: Friday 12th March 2021:
180 rescued by troops of the Nigeria Army early today Friday, March 12. Several male+female students still missing following bandit attack at Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka-Igabi LG. Search & rescue efforts continue pic.twitter.com/dd9Rx78dpU
— Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai (@elrufai) March 12, 2021
The military engaged the gunmen in the process, the Associated Press reported. Aruwan told the Associated Press that military forces were able to keep 180 staff members and students safe from the “armed bandits.”
It remains unclear how many students and staff members were injured during the attack, but are receiving medical attention at a military facility, the Associated Press report claimed.
Now, Nigerian forces “are conducting an operation to track the missing students,” Aruwan told the Associated Press.
Authorities believe the group of gunmen were members of the same group responsible for abducting nearly 300 school girls in late February, the Associated Press reported. The 279 kidnapped individuals have since been released after government negotiations. However, it remains unclear whether or not a ransom was paid by the government for their release, according to the Associated Press. (RELATED: Nearly 300 Kidnapped Nigerian Schoolgirls Released)
One of the girls kidnapped in the previous ordeal involving 279 individuals told the Associated Press, “We were sleeping at night when suddenly we started hearing gunshots. They were shooting endlessly. We got out of our beds and people said we should run, that they are thieves.”