Nigerian authorities announced on Tuesday that nearly 200 children had been seized in the latest school abduction in its violent north but they ruled out securing their freedom by paying a ransom.
Police were trying to track the route the abductors had taken with the children, who were seized in a raid on an Islamic school in north-central Niger state on Sunday, a local government official told Reuters.
The official said a warplane was also flying over the area to try to spot them.
Gunmen on motorbikes attacked the town of Tegina on Sunday afternoon. One person was shot dead during the attack and a second person was seriously wounded. Local authorities put the number of abducted students at around 200.
Deputy governor Ahmed Mohammed Ketso told reporters the state government was pursuing the kidnappers and efforts were being made to identify them.
Ketso added: “We don’t pay ransom to abductors. We are trying to negotiate to see how we can bring them back safely.”
Over 700 students have been abducted for ransom since December by armed groups after raids on schools and universities in northern Nigeria. The government denies paying ransoms but is widely believed to have done so.