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More than 100 school girls have been reportedly abducted at a Government Science Secondary School in Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State.
Katsina is the home town of the President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari and is located in the Northern part of the country.
Mr Buhari arrived Daura on his presidential fleet on Friday at 16:45hrs, his Special Special adviser, Femi Adesina disclosed in a statement.
Sahara Reporters, a popular online news network in Nigeria reports that armed bandits invaded the government school 22:45hrs, 5 hours after the President landed.
The gunmen killed a security guard and abducted the students, the report says.
Kankara Local Government is about 150km from the state capital Kastina.
There has been a contradiction in the actual numbers of students abducted. While some residents said they are over 100, others claimed they are more than 200.
A resident of the community told SaharaReporters that the armed bandits stormed the community in a commando-style, shooting sporadically for more than an hour.
Another resident, Malam Umaru Kabiru reportedly said that he went about in search of his two brothers after the incident.
He disclosed that those missing “could be more than 100” students, the site quoted Kabiru as saying.
“Parents and caregivers and many people in Katsina lamented that they couldn’t find their children.”
The government is yet to account for the actual number of the students missing, however, the President has condemned the abduction in a statement posted on his Facebook Fanpage.
Another resident claimed the gunmen abducted more than 200 students.
“They killed a policeman; they killed a security guard and two students. About 200 students were also taken away,” he told Sahara Reporters.
“We saw a military helicopter hovering over the area. Parents have besieged the school, and many of the students are missing. We can’t say for sure how many were kidnapped as some of the students might have run into the bush.”
A local newspaper, Punch News who also collaborated the abduction said one of the policemen who was reportedly shot on the leg is currently receiving treatment at a hospital in Kankara town.
SR reported that the bandits gained access to the staff quarters after abducting the wife of an employee of the school before storming the students’ hostel where they abducted unspecified numbers.
“Military sources disclosed that troops of the Nigerian Army later arrived at the school to confront the bandits and the bandits absconded with some of the students in the process,” SR reported on Saturday afternoon.
Speaking with Punch News on Saturday, the Spokesman for the Katsina Police Command, SP Gambo Isah said, “We are still taking the headcount of the students. Maybe no student was even abducted as some of the students had to escape from the school during the gun duel. So, I cannot give you the exact number of students abducted for now.”
A staff of the school who pleaded anonymity said parents rushed to the school to check for the whereabouts of their children.
The Nigeria President has been under attack for the past few weeks over the increasing insecurity in the country.
Aggrieved Nigerians have called for his resignation as many storms the street to protest against bad governance and a call to end SARS.
On Friday evening, Mr Buhari warned those calling him to resign to desist, saying he will not submit to “undue pressure to resign.”
Buhari Condemns Abduction of Kankara School Girls
On Saturday, the President through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu charged the Nigeria army and the police to chase the bandits and rescue the students.
Mr Buhari also urged the school authorities to carry out an audit of the population of the students after the abduction.
The parents whose children were, fortunately, safe are asked to contact the police to enable the authorities to have a proper account of the actual number of students abducted.
“I strongly condemn the cowardly bandits’ attack on innocent children at the Science School, Kankara. Our prayers are with the families of the students, the school authorities and the injured,” said President Buhari while pledging to continue to support the police and military struggle against terrorists and bandits.
Meanwhile, the President claimed the army have located the bandits’ enclaved at Zango/Paula forest in Kankara.
The Nigeria military supported by airpower is believed to be battling with the gunmen.
The President has directed the reinforcement of security of all schools in line with the safe school’s policy of the administration.
Similar Incident in 2014.
In April 14-15 in 2014, over 200 secondary School students were abducted in a Christian community, Chibok in Borno.
The abduction attracted reactions across the globe and the Nigerian government is yet to fully rescue the entire students.
Many of the girls that were later rescued were raped and impregnated while some who refused to denounce their religion were reportedly killed and left behind.
The incident happened under the previous government headed by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.