Katsina state governor says bailouts continue to rescue more than 300 students who have been missing since the kidnapping on Friday.
At least 17 students kidnapped from a school in northwestern Nigeria by the Boko Haram armed group were rescued Tuesday, an official said, adding that two students were killed in the operation, according to the Anadolu Agency.
Katsina State Governor Aminu Masari told a local radio station that he ordered an operation after hundreds of students were kidnapped by the group on Friday from a boarding school in Kankara, a small town in Katsina.
On Tuesday, Boko Haram, who abducted hundreds of school girls in the Chibok area in 2014, took charge.
“The majority of the kidnapped students are in the forest of Zamfara in the neighboring province. Efforts are being made to save them, ”he said.
Katsina state police spokesman Gambo Isah said a guard was injured during the operation and additional security guards were being dispatched to the area to conduct search and rescue operations.
Motorbike attackers stormed the Boys Government Science Secondary School and security guards involved in a violent gun battle late Friday, forcing hundreds of students to flee and hide in the surrounding forest.
Defense Minister Bashir Salihi Magashi visited the area and vowed that the students would soon be rescued, as parents and residents continued to demonstrate for their release.
The number of missing students also remains unclear – 320 or 333, according to two reports from officials, while residents of Kankara put it at more than 500, the AFP news agency reported on Wednesday.
Masari ordered the closure of all boarding schools in the state after the attack.
For Umar Ahmed, the nightmare started confused. Armed men arrived at his school late Friday as he and his classmates were about to go to bed.
Her first thought was that the men were vigilantes – civilians taking on a police role – « so we weren’t afraid, » the 18-year-old told AFP.
But then, he says, a heavy fire started. “We got scared. Some of us ran to the perimeter fence and tried to escape while others hid inside.
“They kept shouting to come back that they were at school to save us. And most of us came back, ”he added.
Ahmad was lanky and quiet and explained how the students were herded together under a tree, divided into three groups and led through the forest.
« We had no shoes, » he said, his feet were wrapped in black socks after being strewn with thorns.
The teen said the group wandered for hours towards the neighboring state of Zamfara. « They whipped us with branches and the flat side of their machetes, » he said.
He and a friend were able to hide behind a bush. They waited for total silence before taking their steps back home to safety.
In a statement, President Muhammadu Buhari condemned Boko Haram’s « cowardly attack » « on innocent children » and said the security forces had launched an operation.
The kidnapping took place hundreds of kilometers from Boko Haram’s fortress in northeastern Nigeria and sparked fears of a massive advance in the group’s activities.
Fears that Boko Haram might penetrate to the northwest have been simmering for some time. According to the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank, around 8. 000 people killed.
The kidnappings took place in the home state of Buhari, which was visiting the area when the attack took place. Buhari made the fight against Boko Haram a priority, but the security situation in northern Nigeria has deteriorated since his 2015 election.
Nigeria’s Boko Haram is behind the kidnapping of hundreds of high school students in the northwestern state of Katsina, according to an audio message.
Concerned family members gather at a secondary school in northwestern Katsina state that has been attacked by armed men.
A parent and school clerk say about half of the school’s 800 students are missing after a raid in northwest Katsina.
Boko Haram, Nigeria, Abubakar Shekau, Katsina
World news – AU – 17 Nigerian students rescued from Boko Haram, two dead: Officially
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