(BBC) – Police in Nigeria have launched a search and rescue operation for 317 girls kidnapped from a school in the state of Zamfara.
The operation comes as 42 people kidnapped from a boarding school in a similar incident last week in Niger state were released.
The kidnappings are carried out for ransom and are common in the north.
President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the latest kidnapping as “inhumane and totally unacceptable”.
The United Nations Children Fund also condemned the abduction of the girls and called for their safe release.
The 2014 kidnap of 276 schoolgirls in the north-eastern town of Chibok by Islamist militants Boko Haram brought global attention to the scourge of raids on schools in Nigeria but the most recent attacks are suspected to be the work of criminal gangs.
Nigerian police said in a statement that “a co-ordinated search and rescue operation, involving the deployment of both ground and aerial assets” was under way.
Two helicopters have been deployed.