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Nigeria school kidnapping: Dozens of students taken by gunmen in north of country

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A gang of armed men has kidnapped dozens of students at a high school in northern Nigeria.

The gunmen stormed the Bethel Baptist High School in Damishi town in the Kaduna State at around 2am on Monday.

Mohammed Jalije, a police spokesman, said the exact number of students taken is not yet certain.

John Evans, whose daughter is among those missing from the school, said: ”My daughter told me, daddy I don’t like this school, remove me from this school.

“I said you are starting exams on Monday and I am told that by Friday you will be vaccinated, so just be patient.

“And that was the beginning, just this morning, at about 6am, I received a phone call that they have entered the school, that all our children were packed, including my daughter.”

John Hayab said his son narrowly escaped being taken.

He said about 180 students attend the high school and said he “cannot give the exact figure of those abducted for now, until those who ran into hiding for safety are back, but we know they took a lot of students”.

“I am just speechless, I don’t know what to say,” he said.

“My son was among the students who narrowly escaped.

“I am part of this unfortunate incident because it is my church. This is a very, very sad situation for us.”

Mr Hayab added that 26 students had returned, and he is hopeful more would escape from the kidnappers.

It comes just hours after a separate attack on a local hospital in the Kaduna state, when gunmen kidnapped up to eight people, while assailants simultaneously attacked a nearby police station.

Zaria, where the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Centre hospital is located, has been particularly hard hit, and the attack was the third on the hospital.

The incident on Sunday lasted for roughly an hour, hospital spokesperson Maryam Abdulrazaq said.

She said six people had been abducted: two nurses, one with her one-year-old child, a laboratory technician, a security guard and one other staff member. Police gave the number of hostages as eight.

The school kidnapping was the fourth in the Kaduna state in the last six months and the seventh mass kidnapping in Nigeria this year.

The abductors carry out the kidnappings and demand ransoms, with many schools forced to close because authorities cannot protect them.

Mass abductions from schools have grown significantly since 2014 when members of the jihadi rebels Boko Haram abducted 276 female students from a government school in Chibok in northeastern Borno State.

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