About 140 students have allegedly been kidnapped by gunmen at Kaduna state in Nigeria. Reports claim that gunmen had started shooting and attacking the Bethel Baptist High School hostel in the south of Kaduna state. The incident is said to have occurred between 11 PM on June 4 and 4 AM June 5.
Nigeria has a history of mass school kidnaps by bandits who seek ransom payments in return. Parents of the missing students from Bethel High School anxiously gathered on Kachia Road that leads to the school. Cops have stated that 26 people including a female teacher had been rescued.
Students Taken Into Forest
Cops released a statement in this regard and explained the situation. "They [armed men] overpowered the school's security guards and made their way into the students' hostel where they abducted an unspecified number of students into the forest," the statement said.
The school hostel had about 180 students in total. On the day bandits attacked the school, students were preparing for the exams. Speaking to Reuters, founder of the school, Reverend John Hayab, said that at least 25 students managed to escape from the clutches of the bandits. Hayab's 17-year-old son who was studying in the school is one of the students who had managed to escape.
Entry of residents has been banned and the security officials have cordoned off the school. Emmanuel Paul, a teacher of the school, told AFP news agency that no one knew where the missing students have been holed up. "The kidnappers took away 140 students, only 25 students escaped. We still have no idea where the students were taken," said Paul.
Mass Kidnapping For Ransom
The police has confirmed it as a kidnapping case, but refused to give any information regarding the students who have gone missing. Cops have stated that the tactical police teams were trying to trace the kidnappers and that the rescue mission was on.
This is said to be the 10th incident of mass school kidnapping since December 2020, attributed to armed bandits. Kaduna state is the biggest target of bandits in the northern part of Nigeria. Reports claim that since December last year, at least 1,000 students have been kidnapped. It is said that at least 150 women have still not been found.
Over the years, apart from schools, bandits have also attacked people on roads, private residential areas and even hospitals. In another incident, at least six people including a one-year-old child were kidnapped by gunmen from a hospital in Kaduna.
No group has claimed responsibility for the Baptist School incident yet. But in and around Kaduna, Boko Haram is said to be the largest group of armed men involved in abduction cases, In fact, in 2014, Boko Haram had kidnapped 270 female students from Chibok. Reports claim that at least 100 girls have not yet been found.