Nigerian Army in Firefight With Gang That Kidnapped College students

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) – The Nigerian military on Saturday waged a gun battle with armed men who kidnapped dozens of secondary school students in northwestern Katsina state the night before, the country’s president said.

President Muhammadu Buhari said in a statement on Saturday that the military had located the kidnappers in a forest and were using air support to exchange fires with them. One officer was shot and wounded while fighting with the gang.

In the statement, Mr Buhari condemned the attack in his home state and police said they would use additional forces to assist with the search and rescue.

The gang armed with AK-47 stormed the government science secondary school in the Kankara district around 9:40 p.m. on Friday, police and residents said. A parent and a school clerk told Reuters that roughly half of the school’s 800 students were missing, but police and military were still trying to determine how many had actually been abducted.

Police at the scene on Friday exchanged fires with the attackers so some students could run for security reasons, a police spokesman, Gambo Isah, said in a statement.

Katsina is plagued by violence, which the government attributes to bandits – a loose name for gangs of outlaws who attack locals and kidnap ransom. Attacks by militant Islamists are widespread in the northeast of the country.

Violence and insecurity throughout Nigeria have made citizens angry, especially after numerous farmers in northeastern Borno state were killed and some were beheaded by militant Islamists late last month.

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