Nigerian police said on Sunday 80 students of a local Islamic school were rescued after their abduction by suspected bandits in the northwestern state of Katsina.
State police spokesperson Gambo Isah said in a statement reaching Xinhua that security operatives on late Saturday rescued 80 abducted pupils of Hizburrahim Islamiyya, an Islamic school in Mahuta, located in the Dandume area of the state.
They were kidnapped by a group of gunmen on their way back from an occasion celebrated at a nearby town on Saturday, Isah said, adding their abductors accosted them and tried to proceed to a forest when security operatives engaged them.
After a a gun duel with the gunmen, security operatives rescued all the kidnapped students and four other persons who were earlier held by the gunmen from Danbaure village, near the Funtua area of the state, he said.
“The security team succeeded in dislodging the bandits and launched a search party, combing the entire area with a view to arresting injured bandits or recovering dead bodies while an investigation is ongoing,” the police spokesperson said.
Kidnappers have recently targeted schools in the northern part of Nigeria, causing anxieties about the safety of learning institutions in the most populous African country.
On Dec. 11, over 300 students were kidnapped in the Kankara area of Katsina state but they regained freedom on late Thursday, after spending six days in the kidnappers’ den inside a forest.
Banditry, kidnapping, and other criminal activities have recently become rampant in Nigeria’s northwest region.