During an armed raid on February 17, three teachers, 27 students, and nine family members were kidnapped, and one student died, in a state-run school in Niger state.
The school, located in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region, has no perimeter fence to prevent the militants from entering the area, according to former Nigerian senator Shehu Sani.
“The town is at the epicenter of the insurgency in Niger State. Fulani bandits operate within the axis and there are thousands of people displaced in this area. The bandits of the northwest of Nigeria are becoming more lethal and destructive than Boko Haram,” Sani told CNN.
The student who died in the attack has been identified as Benjamin Habila.
Questioning School Safety
This is not the first time an attack like this occurred in the area. Just two months ago, 300 students were kidnapped from the Government Science Secondary School Kankara, in Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s home state of Katsina. In this case, the students were all released soon after their abduction.
According to Niger state Governor Abubakar Sani Bello’s chief press secretary Mary Noel Barje, all boarding schools in the area have been closed, and the military has been deployed to rescue the kidnapping victims.
President Buhari’s office released a statement condemning the attack.
“The President has directed the Armed Forces and Police, to ensure immediate and safe return of all the captives,” Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said in a statement.
“The President has also dispatched to Minna, Niger State a team of security chiefs to coordinate the rescue operation and meet with state officials, community leaders, as well as parents and staff of the college,” Shehu continued.