Niger Governor travels abroad for 'security mission' as state deals with abduction of over 100 students

The governor is abroad to explore all possibilities of strengthening the state's security architecture.

Niger State governor, Abubakar Sani Bello [Niger State Government]

Niger governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, is abroad on a 'security mission' at the same time that armed gunmen abducted over 100 students in the state.

The gunmen attacked an Islamiyya school located at Tegina in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger and abducted the students and teachers on Sunday, May 30, 2021.

One person was shot dead and another sustained gunshot injuries due to the attack on Sunday evening, according to the government's report.

11 children who were too small and couldn't walk were released by the gunmen.

Governor Bello's spokesperson, Mary Noel-Berje, said in a statement late on Sunday that the attack happened shortly after he left the country.

Without revealing which specific country he travelled, she said the governor is abroad to explore all possibilities of strengthening the state's security architecture.

Noel-Berje said the governor is expected back in the state 'within the shortest period of time', but was not specific about when.

She assured residents of the state that the governor has given directives to the security operatives and state government officials to do all they can towards ensuring the safe return of the hostages.

"Governor Sani Bello also assured all Nigerlites that Government will continue to do all it can to protect the lives and property of its citizens while guarantying the continued peace and stability of the state," the statement read.

Sunday's abduction is a repeat of the abduction of 24 students and 14 others at the Government Science College, Kagara in Niger in February.

The students were released over a week later after the government negotiated with their abductors.

Some passengers of a Sharon Bus travelling to Minna were also abducted on Sunday, with attacks recorded across numerous communities in three LGAs - Rafi, Wushishi and Bida.

In the Wushishi attack, gunmen attacked 17 communities on about 70 motorcycles and shot many residents.

Some women and children drowned as they tried to escape across River Kaduna, according to the government's report.

"The situation has reached crisis level; in fact, it's a war situation that we have to confront without further delay," Governor Bello said in reaction to the attacks.

Sunday's attacks highlight yet again the worrying insecurity in the country, with violent crimes increasingly happening in many parts of the country.

The Federal Government's response has been adjudged to be insufficient as thousands are killed, kidnapped for ransom, or displaced from their communities.

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