SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: March 11, 2021

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation

Region & Country:Western Africa | Nigeria

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On March 11, 2021, a group of unidentified gunmen attacked Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, in Kaduna State, and abducted 39 students and staff. 

At around 11:30 PM, after breaching the perimeter of the school, the gunmen began opening fire and making their way around the campus. Nigerian armed forces were deployed to the scene and engaged the gunmen. Approximately 180 people, including students and staff, were brought to safety. An unspecified number of students were injured and taken to a local medical facility.

Reports indicate that the gunmen managed to abduct 39 students and staff members. As of April 1, 2021, the students and staff remain missing.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the abduction of students and staff and an attack on a higher education institution. State authorities have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of students, including by investigating and holding perpetrators of such acts responsible. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, abductions of students and attacks on campuses undermine academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.

UPDATE: On May 5, 2021, Kaduna State Police confirmed that the kidnappers released the remaining 29 students, after having previously released 10 of them.