WORLD Nigerian security steps up hunt for 39 kidnapped students

WORLD

Nigerian security steps up hunt for 39 kidnapped students

AFP

18:17, March 14, 2021

Abducted students of Government Science College Kagara arrive at the state house after being freed in Minna, Niger State, central Nigeria, on February 27, 2021. (Photo: VCG)

Nigerian security forces stepped up efforts Saturday to rescue dozens of abducted college students, police and officials said, as the media ran videos they said showed hostages pleading for help.

President Muhammadu Buhari meanwhile vowed an early end to the hostage crisis.

Gunmen abducted 39 students from their hostels in northwestern Kaduna state late Thursday, the latest in a series of such attacks.

The military managed to rescue 180 others after a fierce battle at the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation in Mando at the outskirts of the state capital, Kaduna city.

"A combined team of police, army and other security forces are in a frantic search for the kidnapped students," state police spokesman Mohammadu Jalinge told AFP.

"We are combing the surrounding forests and bushes with a view to freeing the hostages. Very soon, it will be over for the bandits."

The gunmen had not made contacts with the authorities, he added.

State commissioner for internal security Samuel Aruwan told AFP: "An operation for the students' rescue is underway by security personnel from the army, air force, police and DSS [secret police]."

The Kaduna college targeted in the attack is reported to have some 300 male and female students - mostly aged 17 or older.

Distraught parents, relatives and sympathizers have been arriving at the school for news.

Local media meanwhile published several videos they said came from the abducted students Saturday. In one, a male student appealed to the Nigerian authorities to rescue them without violence.

The recording, purportedly sent through a Facebook account of one of the hostages, showed some of the other abducted students, male and female. In another video, gunmen with whips were seen beating the hostages.

AFP

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