At least two students were reportedly killed by suspected bandits who invaded Government Science Secondary School in Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State on Friday night.
As many as 200 students may also have been kidnapped by the attackers, residents say. Reports say the school is conducting a headcount to ascertain the number of missing students. Some reports say at least 600 students may be unaccounted for.
Authorities reportedly fear the students were kidnapped. Some say the students may have simply fled the attack.
Residents say the armed men killed a police officer and a school security guard.
The attack happened a few hours after President Muhammadu Buhari arrived in his home state of Katsina for a week-long private visit, reports say. The president had, after Boko Haram terrorists slaughtered rice farmers in Borno, refused to appear before lawmakers to face questions about his handling of Nigeria’s security.
Kankara, where Friday’s attack took place, is about 150km from the state capital, Katsina. Buhari is currently in Daura. Kankara is among the eighth frontline local governments that are most affected by insecurity in Katsina State, despite heavy security checkpoints stationed in the area.
A resident of the state said that the bandits stormed the school at 10:45 pm, shooting for over an hour.
Malam Umaru Kabiru, a resident of the area who also went to the school to search for his two brothers, said those missing “could be more than 100.”
“Parents and caregivers and many people in Katsina lamented that they couldn’t find their children,” a source reportedly told Sahara Reporters on the phone.
Another resident said the gunmen abducted over 200 students.
“They killed a policeman; they killed a security guard and two students. About 200 students were also taken away,” he claimed.
There was panic in the community as parents and caregivers besieged the school.
“We saw a military helicopter hovering over the area. Parents have besieged the school, and many of the students are missing. We can’t say for sure how many were kidnapped as some of the students might have run into the bush,” a resident said.
A police officer, who was said to have been wounded on the leg, is currently receiving treatment in a hospital in the Kankara town, Punch reported.
It was learnt that the bandits gained access to the staff quarters where they abducted the wife of an employee in the school before they stormed the students’ hostel and abducted an unspecified number of students.
Military sources disclosed that troops of the Nigerian Army later arrived at the school to confront the bandits and the bandits absconded with some of the students in the process.
Katsina police spokesperson Gambo Isah confirmed the incident but could not disclose the exact number of students abducted.
“We are still taking the headcount of the students,” he said.
“Maybe no student was even abducted as some of the students had to escape from the school during the gun duel. So, I cannot give you the exact number of students abducted for now.”