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'Hundreds missing' after armed bandits storm Nigerian school

At least 300 girls have been abducted by suspected armed bandits from a school hostel in northwest Nigeria's Zamfara state, a teacher and parent have claimed. 

The incident would be the latest mass kidnapping in the troubled region. Abduction for ransom, raping and pillaging by heavily-armed criminal gangs in northwest and central Nigeria has increased in recent years.

"More than 300 girls are unaccounted for after a headcount of remaining students," a teacher at the Government Girls Secondary School Jangebe, who asked to remain anonymous, said. 

A man whose two daughters attend the school confirmed the incident. Sadi Kawaye said he had been told that it was "invaded by bandits". 

A spokesman for the state governor declined to say how many people were taken or provide further details.

A police spokesman for the state did not immediately respond to calls and messages seeking comment.

This is the second such kidnapping in a little over a week in Nigeria's north, where a surge in armed militancy in the northwest has led to a widespread and worsening breakdown of security.

Last week, unidentified gunmen killed a student in an overnight attack on a boarding school in the north-central Nigerian state of Niger and kidnapped 42 people, including 27 students. The hostages are yet to be released. 

More than 300 boys were kidnapped from a school in December in Kankara, President Muhammadu Buhari's home state of Katsina, while he was visiting the region.

The boys were later released after negotiations with government officials but the incident triggered global outrage.

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