Abductions from schools for ransom are common in Nigeria’s northwest, but attacks on major institutions in Abuja are rare.
Gunmen abducted members of staff and their children at a university in Nigeria in a rare kidnapping at a large institution in the capital Abuja.
Six people were abducted from the staff quarters of the University of Abuja on Tuesday, according to officials.
“Suspected bandits attacked the staff quarters of the university in the early hours of today. We have a report that four of our staff and their children were, nevertheless, abducted,” the university said on its Facebook page.
Police spokesperson Josephine Adeh said security forces launched a rescue operation.
Abductions from schools and attacks on villages in return for ransom are common in the northwest of the country, but kidnappings at major institutions in the capital are rare.
Nigeria’s security forces are stretched on several fronts, including growing lawlessness in the north and northwest and a 12-year armed rebellion in the northeast that has killed thousands.
Last month, agents rescued 187 kidnapped people during raids on camps of criminal gangs in dense forests in the Zamfara state, where they were abducted in separate attacks.
The rescue was part of a weeks-long military operation in Zamfara and other northwestern states that included telecoms blackouts to disrupt bandit communications.
The gangs are known to maintain camps hidden in forests straddling Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto and Kaduna states.
Hundreds of schoolchildren have been taken in mass kidnappings since December. Most were freed or released after ransoms were paid but dozens are still being held.
Al Jazeera and news agencies