SWITZERLAND, DECEMBER 15 – The Boko Haram terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the kidnap of over 300 boys in Kankara, Katsina state, hours after president Buhari landed in the state.
The latest claim of responsibility marks the expansion of the deadly Islamic group to Katsina State from its base in North-Eastern Nigeria.
“I am Abubakar Shekau and our brothers are behind the kidnapping in Katsina,” the leader of Boko Haram said in a voice message released on Monday.
More than 100 gunmen on motorcycles stormed the rural school north of Kankara town, forcing students to flee and hide in the surrounding bush.
A number of boys were able to escape, but many were captured, split into groups and taken away, residents told AFP.
#BringBackOurBoys has been trending on social media since the weekend in reference to a similar hashtag used after Boko Haram abducted 276 girls in 2014 in Chibok, in north-eastern Nigeria.
The army, which initially blamed the attack on bandits, has said it has located the hideout of the “bandits”, and that a military operation was under way.
President Muhammadu Buharu who is in Katsina state on visit to his hometown, Daura, a few kilometres from Kankara, condemned the attack and ordered security stepped up in schools. In Katsina, all schools were closed.
However, there have been protests as parents, relatives and residents call on the government to find the children.