ABUJA - Kidnappers have abducted schoolchildren in northwest Nigeria's Zamfara state, the state governor's spokesman said on Friday, the second such kidnapping in little over a week. It was not clear how many children had been seized. Zailani Bappa, a spokesman for Zamfara's state governor, said he saw reports of the attack on social media and checked with a police official who told him there had been abductions at a school in the state. He was unable to provide further details. 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 north of Africa's most populous country. Last week, unidentified gunmen killed a student in an overnight attack on a boarding school in the north-central 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. President Muhammadu Buhari replaced his long-standing military chiefs earlier this month amid worsening violence, with the armed forces fighting to reclaim northeastern towns overrun by insurgents. REUTERS
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