ABUJA, Nigeria — Unidentified gunmen kidnapped a number of schoolgirls from the town of Jangebe in northwest Nigeria early on Friday, a state spokesman said, the second such kidnapping in a little over a week. It was not clear how many children had been seized.

It was not immediately clear how many children had been seized in the midnight raid on the Jangebe Government Girls’ Secondary School, said Sulaiman Tanau Anka, the information commissioner for Zamfara state.

Mr. Anka said that gunmen arrived at the school, shooting sporadically and taking the girls away by car and on foot. Security forces were hunting through the area, he added.

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

A surge in armed militancy in the northwest has led to a breakdown of security in the northern part of Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa.

Unidentified gunmen killed a student in an overnight attack last week 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.

Hundreds of people have been killed in northern Nigeria by criminal gangs carrying out robberies and kidnappings. The country is also struggling to contain Islamist insurgencies in the northeast and communal violence over grazing rights in central states.

In the most notorious kidnapping in Nigeria in recent years, Boko Haram militants abducted 276 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in Borno state in April 2014. They were eventually rescued by security forces or escaped.

President Muhammadu Buhari replaced his longstanding military chiefs this month amid the worsening violence, with the armed forces fighting to reclaim northeastern towns overrun by insurgents.



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