LAGOS, Nigeria — Gunmen abducted girls from a boarding school in northern Nigeria on Friday, police said, the latest in a series of mass kidnappings of students in the West African nation. Police and the military have begun joint operations to rescue the girls after the attack at the Government Girls Junior Secondary School in Jangebe town, according to a police spokesman in Zamfara state, Mohammed Shehu, who confirmed the number abducted. One parent, Nasiru Abdullahi, told The Associated Press that his daughters, aged 10 and 13, are among the missing. Resident Musa Mustapha said the gunmen also attacked a nearby military camp and checkpoint, preventing soldiers from interfering while the gunmen spent several hours at the school.
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In ancient and pre-colonial times, the area of present-day Nigeria was occupied by a great diversity of ethnic groups with very different languages and traditions. British influence and control over what would become Nigeria and Africa's most populous country grew through the 19th century. After independence in , politics were marked by coups and mostly military rule, until the death of a military head of state in allowed for a political transition. In , a new constitution was adopted and a peaceful transition to civilian government was completed. The government continues to face the daunting task of institutionalizing democracy and reforming a petroleum-based economy, whose revenues have been squandered through decades of corruption and mismanagement.
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