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Armed men attack a university in northern Nigeria and kidnap a number of students

One person was killed and an unspecified number of university students were kidnapped in Kaduna State in northern Nigeria, following an operation carried out by armed men. In statements to "France 24", a local police spokesman, Mohamed Celig, said that armed men attacked the university. "Students have been kidnapped, but we do not know their number yet," he said.

Two university officials told AFP that at least 20 students are missing, but it is not known how many were kidnapped among them and those who managed to flee.

In a press conference, the local Interior Minister, Samuel Arwan, confirmed the attack, explaining that a "university employee" was killed.

Armed gangs known as "bandits" have been conducting operations in this region of Nigeria for several months aiming at kidnapping students and students from educational institutions for ransom, and kidnapping 730 children and boys since December.

In the beginning of March, armed men attacked a boarding school affiliated with a secondary school for vocational education and kidnapped 49 students, only ten of whom were released. The kidnappers published harsh videos showing the victims being flogged and demanding their families and the authorities to pay a ransom.

In a press conference last week, the head of the Ahali Association denounced the inaction of the Kaduna state authorities, which prevented any negotiations with the kidnappers.

"Children have not been able to shower for 36 days, and they are not eating well, they do not have clean water to drink, and they have neither clothes nor medicine," said Frady Sani.

Several states in northern and central Nigeria imposed the closure of their schools for security reasons, which raised fears of exacerbating the school dropout crisis, especially among girls, in these poor and rural areas that suffer from the highest rates of non-enrollment.

According to UNICEF, the education of 5 million children is under threat in that region. "With the acceleration of attacks and kidnappings targeting students specifically, the entire educational system will collapse if nothing is done quickly," the international organization told France Press.