Nigerian military working to rescue hundreds of missing students

The Nigerian military and police are working to rescue hundreds of students who are believed to be missing after gunmen stormed a secondary school on Friday, according to officials. 

Gunmen armed with AK-47s invaded the Government Science secondary school at 9:40 p.m. on Friday and gathered students while firing the rifles into the air, police in the northern state of Katsina said, according to The New York Times

The school, which witnesses and officials said usually holds about 800 students, still has about 400 students missing, a parent and school employee told Reuters, although the exact number of missing students is unknown. 


Nigerian officials said more than 200 captured students were rescued, and authorities, including the army and air force, were trying to recover the missing students. 

Isah Gambo, a police spokesman, said in a Saturday statement obtained by the Times that the police confrontation with attackers allowed some students to jump the fence around the school and escape. 

Garba Shehu, a spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari said Saturday that the shootings by the school “sent hundreds of them fleeing and scrambling over the perimeter walls,” according to the Times. He said the military followed the assailants into the forest where they exchanged gunfire. 

Officials have not reported any student casualties but said an officer was taken to a hospital after being shot.

Buhari on Saturday denounced “the cowardly bandits’ attack on innocent children,” ordering security to be increased around schools. 

The school raid came weeks after more than 70 farmers were executed in northeastern Nigeria by Boko Haram members and years after the 2014 abduction of schoolgirls. It’s unclear who conducted Friday’s attack at the school.

Nigerian people are frustrated amid the strikes, accusing the government of not protecting its citizens, according to the news outlets.