Islamic gang kidnaps over 100 girls in armed swoop on school
Heavily armed Boko Haram Islamists have kidnapped more than 100 girls from a school in north-east Nigeria.
The radical group, which has attacked schools in the area before as part of its anti-government rebellion, carried off the students from the school in Chibok in Borno state late on Monday.
Witnesses said they saw gunmen arrive in trucks and on motorcycles and overpowered soldiers guarding the school ahead of yearly exams.
Officials said the gunmen killed a soldier and police officer and left with at least 100 students and as many as 200.
"Over 100 female students in our government secondary school at Chibok have been abducted," said Audu Musa, who teaches in another public school in the area. He said he saw eight bodies in the area yesterday morning, but did not give the identity of the victims. "Things are very bad here and everybody is sad," he said.
Inuwa Kubo, the education commissioner for Borno state, confirmed the incident at Chibok, but said the authorities were still trying to ascertain the exact number of girls abducted, as several students fled into the bush in the darkness during the attack.
A student, who did not wish to be named and managed to escape, said they were sleeping when armed men burst into their rooms and asked to be shown the storeroom.
The schoolgirl said the men loaded food from the store into a truck and ordered some of the girls to climb in.
Boko Haram, whose name means 'Western education is forbidden', has repeatedly attacked schools during an insurgency that has killed thousands since 2009. All schools in Borno state were closed three weeks ago because of an increasing number of attacks.
Islamist extremists have been abducting girls to use as cooks and sex slaves.
On Monday, 75 people were killed after a car bomb was detonated on the outskirts of the capital Abuja during rush hour. Goodluck Jonathan, the Nigerian president, blamed the attack on Boko Haram.
The explosion was just miles from Nigeria's seat of government and doubts are increasing over the military's ability to contain an uprising that has killed more than 1,500 this year.
The extremist group's leader had threatened to attack Abuja and neighbouring Cameroon.
Boko Haram usually targets police stations, bars, schools, churches or public places in the majority-Muslim north.
In February, suspected Islamists killed more than 100 people in an attack on a village. The attackers, dressed in military uniform, had gone door-to-door looking for those hiding at home before murdering them. (© Daily Telegraph, London)