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Gunmen Abduct At Least 100 Girls From Nigerian School

Unidentified gunmen have kidnapped at least 100 girls from a school in northeastern Nigeria.

Witnesses say the mass abduction took place after assailants attacked the town of Chibok in Borno state late on Monday.

A local resident tells VOA that the assailants burned houses, offices and the local Government Girls Secondary School before packing the students into a hijacked truck and driving away.

Initial reports said around 200 girls were abducted. A reporter for VOA in the area, Abdulkareem Haruna, says local sources tell him some of the girls were able to escape.

Haruna says the gunmen and security forces engaged in a shootout in which one soldier and one police officer were killed.

State police commissioner Alhaji Lawan Tanko confirmed the incident to reporters and said his officers are "on the trail of the abductors."

There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack or the kidnapping. The assault is similar to others carried out by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which is blamed for scores of attacks and thousands of deaths since launching an insurgency in 2009.

The group, whose name means "Western education is a sin," wants to impose strict Islamic law on northern Nigeria.

Borno is one of three states where the government declared a state of emergency last May. Nigeria's military has since launched operations meant to crush Boko Haram, but large-scale attacks have continued.

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