At least one person is confirmed to have been killed in what has become the latest in a series of school kidnappings the country has seen this year.
“Armed bandits on motorcycles invaded the town of Tegina, Rafi LGA, indiscriminately shooting and kidnapping an as yet unknown number of children at the Islamic school in Salihu Tanko,” state police said.
“The bandits shot dead one person in the process,” the police statement added. According to state police officials, tactical teams were “immediately mobilized” as part of the effort to rescue the victims. “The Command calls for calm as the police and other security agencies will do everything humanly possible to ensure that the children are saved unharmed,” state police said.
Niger state government spokeswoman Mary Noel-Berje told CNN on Monday that at least 11 of the children abducted in the raid were subsequently released.
“Eleven children were released because of their tenderness … the very little ones who couldn’t cross the bush path, the kidnappers’ escape route, were released,” Noel-Berje said.
According to the government spokesperson, the school targeted by the attack includes preschool, primary and middle-aged children.
“The government is working to determine the number of children abducted. A door-to-door count is underway,” she added.