UPDATE 6-Gunmen kill student, kidnap 42 in attack on Nigerian school By Reuters

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UPDATE 6-Gunmen kill student, kidnap 42 in attack on Nigerian school

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* Kidnapping for ransom common in parts of northern Nigeria* President sends security chiefs to coordinate rescue* Nearly 350 pupils abducted in northwest state in December (Adds Amnesty International comment, details on incident)By Ardo Hazzad and Garba MuhammadBAUCHI/KADUNA, Nigeria, Feb 17 (Reuters) – Unidentifiedgunmen killed a student in an overnight attack on a boardingschool in the north-central Nigerian state of Niger on Wednesdayand kidnapped 42 people including 27 students, the stategovernor said.The assailants stormed the Government Science secondaryschool in the Kagara district of Niger state at around 2 a.m.,overwhelming the school’s security detail, Governor AbubakarSani Bello said.”Twenty-seven students, three staff and 12 members of theirfamilies were kidnapped. Unfortunately, one student was shotdead,” he told a news conference. Aliyu Isa, a teacher, told local TV news station Channelsthat the abductors were dressed in army uniforms and shooting asthey broke into the school. “They were telling the students not to run,” added Isa, whosaid he and others fled in the confusion while the gunmenrounded up some of the pupils.It was not immediately clear who was responsible for thelatest abduction. Kidnappings for ransom by armed groups arecommon across many northern Nigerian states. The attack came two months after gunmen stormed a secondaryschool in northwestern Katsina state and kidnapped nearly 350boys, who were subsequently rescued by securityforces. Rights group Amnesty International said in a statement thateducation is “under attack” in northern Nigeria. “The Nigerian authorities must act immediately to preventattacks on schools, to protect children’s lives and their rightto education,” the group added. Militant Islamist group Boko Haram and a branch of IslamicState also carry out abductions in Nigeria’s turbulentnortheast. About 100 of more than 270 schoolgirls abducted byBoko Haram from the town of Chibok in 2014 remain missing.In the wake of Wednesday’s attack, the Niger state governorordered the immediate closure of boarding schools in the region.President Muhammadu Buhari dispatched security chiefs tocoordinate rescue operations, his spokesman Garba Shehu said ina statement.”President Buhari has (given assurance) of the support ofhis administration to the armed forces in their brave struggleagainst terrorism and banditry and urged them to do all that canbe done to bring an end to this saga,” Shehu said. The Nigerian army said in a statement that it has mobilizedtroops who are pursuing the abductors. And the country’s policechief said his force was working with the Department of StateSecurity to reinforce security in the area where the abductiontook place.The recent attacks have raised concern about rising violenceby armed gangs and Islamist insurgents, fuelling criticism ofBuhari’s handling of national security. In January, thepresident appointed a new military high command.Violence and insecurity have compounded the economicchallenges faced by citizens in Africa’s most populous country,which is struggling to cope with a fall in revenues due to anoil price slump on top of the COVID-19 pandemic.Nigeria’s president calls for calm after clashes in southwestOyo state police beat, arrest protesters at site of Lekkishootings will die in the forest’ – Nigerian schoolboys describekidnap ordeal ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>
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