Nigeria's Zamfara school abduction: Hundreds of girls missing

This is the most recent mass kidnapping against schools in recent weeks
It is feared that hundreds of girls have been kidnapped from a school in the northwestern Nigerian state of Zamfara.
A teacher told the BBC that at least 300 students were not reported after the attack by gunmen on Friday morning.
Local officials have confirmed the attack but have not provided any further details.
This is the most recent mass kidnapping against schools in recent weeks. Armed gangs often confiscate school children as ransom.
At least 42 people, including 27 students kidnapped last week in Kagara, neighboring Nigerian state, remain to be released.
The kidnapping of 276 school girls in the northeastern city of Chibok by Islamist militant Boko Haram in 2014 drew global attention to the scourge of school kidnappings in Nigeria, but the latest attacks are believed to have been carried out by criminal gangs.
Africa Live: More on this and other stories
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The city that lost its girls
How did the attack come about?
The attack on Friday occurred at 1:00 a.m. local time (midnight GMT) when a group of armed men arrived at Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe city with pickups and motorcycles, a teacher told news site Punch .
Some of the armed men were disguised as government security guards, the report said, adding that they had forced the schoolgirls into the vehicles.
But other witnesses told the BBC that the armed men arrived at the school on foot.
Concerned parents have gathered outside the school and some have gone to the bush to look for their daughters, witnesses say.
A teacher told the BBC that of 421 students in the school at the time, only 55 had gone unreported, meaning more than 300 were said to have been abducted.
What did the authorities say?
A police statement said their officers and a military contingent had been sent to Jangebe to look for the kidnapped girls.
The UN children's agency Unicef ​​said it was "upset and sad" about another mass kidnapping of students in Nigeria, which it described as "brutal" and a "violation of children's rights".
Who was behind the attack?
No group has taken responsibility and their identity is unknown, but a witness told BBC Hausa that more than 100 armed men entered the school early Friday morning.
"They broke the school gate and shot at the security guard. Then they went into the hostels and woke the girls up and told them it was time for prayer. After they had all gathered, the girls cried and took them to Haus Wald. They shot too in the air as they marched into the forest, "said the witness.
Armed groups operating in Zamfara often kidnap as ransom, but when armed men took more than 300 boys from Kankara in neighboring Katsina state in December last year, some reports claimed that Boko Haram, who operates in the northeast, was behind the attack.
The allegations were later denied and the boys released after negotiations.
Why are school children kidnapped?
Analyzer box from Mayeni Jones, correspondent from Nigeria
Every time children are taken from their schools by armed gunmen in northern Nigeria, mention is made of the kidnapping of the Chibok girls.
Similar raids took place prior to this publicized kidnapping, but received little publicity and never involved in girls.
The global attention generated by the #BringBackOurGirls campaign showed armed groups that mass kidnapping of children was a surefire way to put pressure on the authorities, including demanding ransom, even though authorities always refuse to pay.
The government does not seem to have a strategy to prevent these incidents from occurring.
Two weeks ago, lawmakers in Zamfara state suggested offering amnesty to penitent kidnappers in order to preserve sustainable economic opportunities.
It's a controversial strategy, but one that has produced some positive outcomes in the Niger Delta, where crime declined following a similar amnesty program in 2009.
So far, the government says it will not negotiate with criminals.
Meanwhile, schools in rural northern Nigeria are more vulnerable than ever.
What has been done to secure schools?
A Safe School Initiative was launched after the Chibok girls were abducted to improve security in schools in northeastern Nigeria by building fences around them.
The three-year project, which was endorsed by United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, former UK Prime Minister, raised at least US $ 20 million (US $ 14 million).
Many container schools were built as temporary learning spaces as part of the program, but it is not known whether fences have been built in the affected communities.
Although most of the recent kidnappings in the Northwest have occurred that were not covered by the Safe Schools Initiative, the 2018 kidnapping of 110 school girls from the Government Science School in Dapchi, northeast Yobe state, raised questions about the success of the initiative.
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