Gunmen kidnap more than 70 students at school in northwest Nigeria

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Sept. 2 (UPI) — Authorities said Thursday that more than 70 students were kidnapped by gunmen from a school in northwestern Nigeria, just days after a group of other students were freed from their captors.

Officials said the attackers abducted at least 73 students from a secondary school in the Kaya area of Zamfara state.

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“When they arrived at the school, they blocked some roads leading to the school and began to shoot indiscriminately in order to scare away residents of the town, while some moved into the school and took some of the students away,” Kaya official Mallam Abu Kaya said, according to Punch.

A former local council member said four of his daughters were taken.

“There is no security agent in the school despite the security challenges we are facing here,” he said, according to Punch. “Everybody knows that Kaya is one of the most dangerous spots because of the location of the town.”

Town officials said a rescue team is looking for the missing children.

Northern Nigeria has experienced a rash of school kidnappings. Earlier this year, there were four mass abductions over a three-month period. Nearly 300 who were also taken in Zamfara state were released by their captors in March.

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Zamfara Gov. Bello Matawalle called on local residents to start fighting back with any weapons available to them.

The kidnapping Wednesday at the Government Day Secondary School in the Maradun Local Government District occurred just days after 18 other students were freed in Zamfara after gunmen kidnapped them from an agricultural college.

Hundreds of schoolchildren have been abducted in Nigeria over the past several years, including the Chibok Girls in 2014.