Gunmen Allegedly Capture 227 Children From Nigerian School: REPORT

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A group of armed men have abducted more than 200 children from a school in Nigeria, school officials said, according to Reuters.

227 pupils are reported missing following an alleged armed raid on the Local Government Education Authority school in the town of Kuriga. A team of as-yet unidentified gunmen allegedly raided the building shortly after morning assembly, Reuters reported. A witness claimed that local vigilantes had attempted to defend the children, but were overpowered by the attackers.

The attack is thought to be the work of a local off-shoot of the Boko Haram group, Ansaru, according to the BBC.

Some parents blamed poor government security in an area of the country that has been blighted by similar incidents.

“Seventeen of the students abducted are my children. I feel very sad that the government has neglected us completely in this area,” local Hassan Abdullahi said, according to Reuters. The office of state governor Uba Sani reported that he had visited the town and vowed to get the children back. (RELATED: Gunmen Kill At Least 140 In Christmas Weekend Attacks On Nigerian Villages)

Nigeria has become known for similar kidnappings in recent years, with children being abducted to further the goals of political and religious groups, in addition to criminals involved in human-trafficking or seeking hefty ransoms.

Boko Haram was also responsible for a similar attack in the nearby town of Chibok in 2014, where over 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped, which inspired the #BringBackOurGirls campaign backed by then First Lady Michelle Obama.