Nigerian Military exchanges gunfire with bandits that kidnapped students

Parents gathered at the school and issued a plea to authorities to bring the missing boys to safety

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On Saturday gunfire broke out between the Nigerian military and a gang that had kidnapped scores of secondary school students in northwestern Katsina the night before, according to Reuters.

The kidnappers were found hiding in a nearby forest by Nigerian military, according to a statement by President Muhammadu Buhari. In the statement Mr. Buhari said the military was assisted by air support when they began exchanging fire with them. One officer was shot and wounded during the fight with the gang.

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Aljazeera reported that kidnappers on motorcycles were armed with AK-47s when they stormed the all-boys Government Science secondary school in Kankara district on Friday evening. Parents and an employee told Reuters that out of the 800 students enrolled in the school, approximately half went missing. At this time, police and military are trying to determine an exact number of students who have actually been kidnapped.

Police spokesman Gambo Isah said in a statement that some students were allowed to get away from the kidnappers and run for safety when police officers arrived at the scene on Friday and exchanged gunfire with the attackers.

Attacks by Islamic militants are common in northeastern parts of the country. Katsina has suffered from violence at the hands of outlaws who attack locals and kidnap them for ransom.

Incessant violence and insecurity throughout Nigeria has enraged citizens, especially after numbers of farmers were killed, and some beheaded, last month by Islamist militants in Borno state.

Parents and family members on Sunday gathered at the school, issuing a plea to authorities to bring the missing boys to safety.

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“If it is not government that will help us, we have no power to rescue our children,” Murja Mohammed, whose son was taken, told Reuters.

Meanwhile, as public outrage about the attack grows, the hashtag #BringBackOurBoys began trending on social media in Nigeria on Sunday.

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