A group of unidentified armed men abducted dozens of students and teachers from a secondary school in Niger state, local officials confirmed on Wednesday.
According to the local authorities and local witnesses, the gunmen that stormed the school were believed to belong to a criminal gang.
The gunmen abducted 42 people, including 27 schoolboys.
“They kidnapped 42 people from the school. They took away 27 students, along with three teachers. They also kidnapped 12 family members of the teachers,” Niger state government’s spokesman Muhammad Sani Idris said in a statement.
Abdullberqy Ebbo, the director-general of the Strategic Operation Unit, ICT and Public Enlightenment of the Niger state said in a tweet that a student “was shot by the bandits and lost his life.”
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has already ordered security agencies to conduct a rescue operation and to dispatch officers to ensure the immediate release of the kidnapped students and staff of the school.
“The President has directed the Armed Forces and Police, to ensure the immediate and safe return of all the captives,” Garba Shehu, a spokesman for the president, said in a statement.
Heavily-armed gangs also pegged as “bandits” that have been active in the northwest and central region of Nigeria have been increasing their violent activities in recent years, instigating kidnap-for-ransom crimes, raping and plundering schemes.