ABUJA, Nigeria — At least nine students have been abducted by gunmen during a late-night raid on their school in northern Nigeria’s Kogi state, authorities said Friday, the third such abduction amid rampant kidnappings targeting schools in the conflict-hit region this year.

The assailants invaded the Confluence University of Science and Technology in Kogi state, which neighbors the nation’s capital, Abuja, and whisked away the students from their classrooms before security forces could arrive, according to Kogi Commissioner for Information Kingsley Femi Fanwo.

The state has “activated the security architecture to track the kidnappers and ensure the abducted students are rescued and the abductors apprehended,” Fanwo added.

The official said local hunters were helping security forces in “combing” the school area, which is surrounded by bushes in the remote Osara town.

Nigeria has struggled with several mass school kidnappings since the first such incident in 2014 when Islamic extremists abducted more than 200 schoolgirls from the northeastern Chibok village, sparking the global #BringBackOurGirls social media campaign.

A t least 1,400 Nigerian students have since been abducted from their schools in similar circumstances, including at least 130 children abducted from their school in Kuriga town in the northern Kaduna state in March. Some are still held captive, including nearly 100 of the Chibok girls.

Latest videos

SUBSCRIBE

Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME