Gunmen who kidnapped six female students and two staff members from their hostels at a remote school in northern Nigeria have demanded ransom, the governor said on Friday.
Armed assailants gained entry to Engravers College, a mixed boarding school in a remote area just south of the city of Kaduna, early on Thursday and seized the victims.
“They’ve made a demand for cash and that’s being negotiated,” state governor Nasir El-Rufai instructed reporters in the capital Abuja.
The governor refused to reveal details of the demands or negotiations, saying the authorities were “making an attempt to protect the victims and secure their release.”
Abductions for ransom are common in Nigeria and the school is situated in an area that has become notorious for armed banditry.
It’s far to the west of the region notorious for attacks by the Boko Haram jihadist group.
Boko Haram grabbed headlines around the globe in 2014 for the abduction of 276 schoolgirls from the remote northeastern city of Chibok in Borno State.
El-Rufai said those responsible for the Kaduna kidnapping had made contact with parents and that Police had gathered relatives together to facilitate communication.
He insisted the Police, Army and Air Force remained on the hunt for the abductors and their victims.
A mother of one of many kidnapped kids told AFP she had briefly spoken with her daughter by cellphone.
“My daughter called me early Friday morning on a cellphone number I didn’t know,” she stated.
“She was crying and sounded frightened.”
The school was abandoned on Thursday after parents hastily took their kids home as news of the kidnapping spread.