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Gunmen abduct 15 students in Sokoto, days after 300 were kidnapped in Kaduna



The eight female students that escaped their abductors in Kaduna

Gunmen abducted at least 15 children from a school in Nigeria’s northwestern Sokoto state in a dawn assault on Saturday, according to the school’s owner and a local.

The attackers pushed their way into the school grounds in the Sokoto town of Gidan Bakuso. They began firing irregularly, waking up and sparking panic among the children, who fled for shelter, according to school owner Liman Abubakar Bakuso.

The kidnapping in Sokoto comes days after a group kidnapped 300 students in northern Kaduna.

“They succeeded in abducting 15 of my students, the oldest being 20 and 15, but all the others are below 13,” said Bakuso by phone, adding that a woman had also been kidnapped.

“We are in a state of panic and have been praying hard for their safe release,” he told Reuters.

Police did not respond to requests for comment.

Nigeria’s security forces are stretched fighting an Islamist insurgency in the northeast, leaving vast swathes of land unpoliced and armed gangs to roam freely.

In Kaduna, the state governor, Uba Sani told the BBC at least 28 of the schoolchildren kidnapped earlier this week had managed to escape their captors.

Until Thursday’s abduction in Kaduna, Nigeria had witnessed a lull in mass kidnappings from schools since July 2021 when some 150 students were seized by armed men.