Nigerian gunmen kidnap 150 children from boarding school in Kaduna state

Nigeria abduction, Google Maps
Bethel Baptist High School is in Kaduna State in the north-west of the country Credit: Google Maps

Gunmen have kidnapped around 150 schoolchildren from a boarding school in north-west Nigeria.

The gunmen stormed Bethel Baptist High School in the early hours of Monday, shooting sporadically as they kidnapped the students, police spokesperson Mohammed Jalije has said.

Heavily armed criminal gangs in the country often attack villages to loot, steal cattle and abduct people for ransom - but since the start of the year they have increasingly targeted schools.

John Hayab, whose son narrowly escaped the abduction, said about 180 students attend the high school.

"We cannot give the exact figure of those abducted for now, until those who ran into hiding for safety are back and a census of the students is taken, but we know they took a lot of students," he said.

The spate of mass abductions from schools in Nigeria has grown significantly since 2014. Credit: Abdullatif Yusuf/AP

Mr Hayab added: "I am just speechless, I don’t know what to say. My son was among the students who narrowly escaped."

"I am part of this unfortunate incident because it is my church," he said, before adding: "This is a very, very sad situation for us."

Mr Hayab, who is the chair of Christian Association of Nigeria, told The Associated Press that so far, 26 students had returned and he was hopeful more would escape from their kidnappers.

This is the fourth abduction of students in Kaduna state in the past six months and there have been seven mass kidnappings of students in Nigeria so far this year.

The abductions are being carried out by armed groups who want ransoms. Many schools have been forced to close as authorities are unable to adequately protect them.

The spate of mass abductions from schools in Nigeria has grown significantly since 2014 when members of the jihadi rebels Boko Haram abducted 276 female students from a government school in Chibok in northeastern Borno State.