The attack on Federal Government College in Kebbi State is the third gang attack on a school in Nigeria in a month.
Armed assailants killed a police officer and abducted five teachers and an unknown number of students from a school in Kebbi state, northwest Nigeria, police said.
The attack took place on Thursday against the Federal Government College in the remote town of Birnin Yauri in Kebbi state. This is the third assault by armed gangs on a school or college in Nigeria in less than a month which has been attributed by authorities to bandits seeking to pay ransom.
Kebbi State Police spokesman Nafiu Abubakar said an officer was shot dead during an exchange of gunfire between the police and the attackers, and that a student was also shot and receiving medical treatment.
“We are still trying to determine the number of kidnapped students, but five teachers have been kidnapped,” Abubakar said.
Abubakar said security forces were searching a nearby forest for the abducted students and teachers.
Atiku Aboki, a local resident who attended the school shortly after the shooting stopped, told Reuters news agency he saw a scene of panic and confusion as people were looking for their children.
“When we got there we saw students cry, teachers cry, everyone sympathizes with people,” he said over the phone.
“Everyone was confused. Then my brother called me [to say] that her two children were not seen and [we] I don’t know if they are among the kidnapped.
Heavily armed criminal gangs, known locally as bandits, have long targeted the central and northwestern states, looting villages, stealing livestock and kidnapping for ransom.
But they have increasingly targeted schools, snatching up students or schoolchildren and rounding them up in forest hiding places to negotiate ransom payments.
More than 700 children and students have already been kidnapped by these gangs for ransom since December.
The raids mainly took place in the northwest region. They are distinct from the armed operations centered in the northeast, where the Boko Haram group made headlines in 2014 when they abducted more than 270 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok.
At the end of May, gunmen seized 136 children from an Islamic seminary in Niger State, central Nigeria.
The mass kidnappings are just one challenge for President Muhammadu Buhari’s security forces, who are also battling armed conflict in the northeast and rising separatist tensions in the southeast.