Records confirm the abduction of several students at a secondary school in Kaduna State in northwestern Nigeria.
Reports say that gunmen attacked Bethel Baptist High School, Damishi in Chikun Local Government Area on Monday morning and abducted several students.
Reuters quoted the school’s founder as saying that about 150 people had not been seen since the attack.
Authorities say they have rescued 26 hostages.
The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Kaduna branch, Reverend Joseph Hayab, who confirmed the news to BBC Hausa, said his son was among the students at the school but escaped.
While the number of students abducted is unknown, Reverend Hayab said on Friday we counted about “180 children who were part of the dormitory but this morning the number of people we received was not more than 24 to 27”.
However, Rev. Hayab said the school was surrounded by security forces.
“They … 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,” he said.
But in a statement issued by the Kaduna State Police Command spokesperson, ASP Muhammed Jalige said, “In the early hours of today, Monday 5th July 2021 at about 0143hrs the Command received a report that armed bandits in large number had gained access into Bethel Baptist Secondary School Kujuma in Chikun LGA of Kaduna State.
“They shot berserkly, 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.
“On the receipt of the unfortunate incident, a joint team of the Nigeria Police, Army and Navy Operatives were immediately mobilised to the area with a mission to rescue the abducted students unhurt.
“The Operatives gave the bandits a hot pursuit occasioned by a tactical application of weapons and succeeded in rescuing twenty-six (26) students including a female teacher safely.
“However, the rescue operation is still ongoing to ensure that all victims are safely returned. Officers involved in the said operation are charged to ensure no stone is left unturned with a view to successfully accomplish the rescue mission since resources will be availed to them without delay.
“The Command is therefore encouraging parents not to be deterred by the recent bandits’ activities in the state targeting schools and learning institutions as strategic measures will be emplaced to forestall further occurrence of such dastardly act of criminality against innocent children.
“The Command is saddened by the incident and call on all stakeholders on security to unite particularly at this very critical time to safeguard schools in order to guarantee a safe and secured learning environment and other meaningful businesses”.
Gunmen suspected to be bandits have killed seven people over the weekend in Kaduna State.
On Saturday, Governor Nasir El-Rufai announced that he had removed his son from a public school because robbers were trying to kidnap him.