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Terror group Boko Haram claim responsibility for kidnapping students in Nigeria

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By Euronews  with AP
The Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, Nigeria, where hundreds of boys were kidnapped
The Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, Nigeria, where hundreds of boys were kidnapped   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Abdullatif Yusuf

The jihadist terror group Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the abduction of hundreds of students in Nigeria.

More than 330 students are missing after an attack by gunmen on the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara on Friday night.

The governor of Katsina State, Aminu Bello Masari, said the attackers had contacted the government, and negotiations over the fate of the children were ongoing.

Posting on Twitter, he said: "The abductors of our Children have made contacts with the Government and talks are ongoing to ensure their safety and return to their respective families. The security agencies deployed for rescue operations have also informed us that they have located their position".

The Daily Nigerian newspaper said it received an audio message from Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau saying that his group abducted the schoolboys because Western education is against the tenets of Islam.

"What happened in Katsina was done to promote Islam and discourage un-Islamic practices as Western education is not the type of education permitted by Allah and his Holy Prophet," the newspaper quoted Shekau as saying.

There has been no independent verification of the audio message but Shekau has in the past released video and audio messages on Boko Haram’s behalf.

Several armed groups operate in northern Nigeria where Katsina state is located. It was originally believed that the attackers were bandits who sometimes work with Boko Haram.

Many of the more than 600 male students were able to escape during the attack while the attackers were in a gunfight with police, according to Katsina State police spokesman Gambo Isah.

Nigeria's most serious school attack took place in April 2014, when more than 270 schoolgirls were abducted from their dormitory at the Government Secondary School in Chibok in northeastern Borno State.

About 100 of the girls are still missing. Boko Haram said at the time that it wanted to stop women from attending schools.