About 300 students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, Zamfara, were kidnapped on Thursday night, BBC Hausa reported.
A resident of Jangebe who gave his name as Haliru Jangebe told News Agency of Nigeria that local vigilantes tried but failed to repel the invaders.
“The bandits were too many and they all seemed to be carrying heavy arms as we heard gunshots from all parts of the town and when the shots stopped, we heard that the students had been taken away,” he said.
Zailani Bappah, the special assistant on public enlightenment, confirmed the abduction to BBC Pidgin on Friday morning.
Commissioner of Security and Home Affairs in the state, Alhaji Abubakar Dauran, in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria, also confirmed the Jangebe abduction but declined to speak on the number of students kidnapped.
“I can confirm to you now that we have sadly received the report on the abduction of the students of GGSS Jangebe and right now, I am on my way to the school,” Dauran said.
“At this moment, l cannot say how many students were taken away by the gunmen until l get there, but we have already mobilized security men and members of the vigilantatè who are now in pursuit of the abductors,” the commissioner stated.
A staff of the school told NAN that “the gunmen in their hundreds invaded the town around 2am on Friday, shot sporadically in the air to scare the residents before coming into the school.
“After taking away most of the students, we rounded up those that escaped or hid from the bandits and conducted a census where we counted 54 students and we are still searching to see if we can get more.”
Kidnappers dressed in military fatigue captured 42 people, including 27 schoolboys, three teachers and other relatives of school staff from Government Science College in Kagara, Niger State last week.
Northwest and central Nigeria have seen a surge in attacks by heavily-armed criminal gangs locally known as “bandits” who raid villages, killing and abducting residents after looting and torching homes.