International News: They went to school but ended up as hostages. 287 children are missing in Nigeria’s forests


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Breaking News!

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By Chinedu Asadu, Associated Press

Gunmen attacked a school in Nigeria’s northwest region Thursday, Mar.7 and abducted at least 287 students, the headteacher told authorities, marking the second mass abduction in the West African nation in less than a week.

People gather in the area where the children were kidnapped (AP Photo).

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Security forces swept through large forests in Nigeria’s northwest region on Friday in search of nearly 300 children abducted from their school by motorcycle-riding gunmen in the latest mass kidnapping, which analysts and activists blamed on the failure of intelligence and a slow security response.

The abduction of the 287 children in Kaduna state, near the West African nation’s capital, is one of the largest school kidnappings in the decade since the kidnapping of schoolgirls in Borno state’s Chibok village in 2014 stunned the world. Analysts and activists say the security lapses that allowed that mass abduction remain.

The victims of the latest attack — among them at least 100 children aged 12 or under — were surrounded and marched into a forest just as they were starting the school day, said locals in Kuriga town, located 55 miles (89 kilometers) from the city of Kaduna. One man was shot dead as he tried to save the students, school authorities said.

As Kaduna Gov. Uba Sani and security officials met with aggrieved villagers on Thursday, they pleaded with the governor to ensure the release of the students and secure their town — like many in the area, once a bustling agrarian community but now sparsely populated and where roads are often avoided because of rampant kidnappings.

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