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At least 1 dead, 42 abducted in gunmen attack on Nigeria school: official

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-02-17 18:56

LAGOS -- At least one student was killed and 42 persons, including 27 students, were abducted by gunmen in their Wednesday morning attack on a government-run school in Niger state, north-central Nigeria, an official said.

Abubakar Sani Bello, governor of Niger State, revealed this to media in Minna, the state capital, saying that the attack occurred at around 2 am on Wednesday at the Government Science College, a boarding school located in Kagara town of the Rafi local government area of the state.

Bello said one student was shot dead in the attack, while 42 persons were taken away by the gunmen, including 27 students, three school staff and 12 family members of school staff.

The governor also declared the closure of all boarding schools in Rafi and three other neighboring local government areas until further notice.

"It is not in our policy as a government to pay ransom to bandits because we have noticed that they use this money to buy arms and ammunition. However, the government will be ready to support and assist repentant bandits," said Bello.

The official also asked for immediate intervention from the federal government to rescue the students and other abducted persons from the hands of the bandits.

He said the government is concerned over the recent bandit attacks in the state, and asked the federal government to "deploy every necessary resources while we will look at all options, both kinetic and non-kinetic to ensure the safe return of the victims".

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has dispatched to the state a team of security chiefs to coordinate the rescue operation, said Garba Shehu, the president's spokesman, in a statement earlier on Wednesday.

Shehu said the president has assured the support of the federal government to the armed forces "in their brave struggle against terrorism and banditry".

Buhari urged them to do all that can be done to bring an end to this saga, and avoid such cowardly attacks on schools in the future, Shehu said.

The Government Science College accommodates about 1,000 students and staff members, a police source, who requested anonymity, told Xinhua.

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