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15 Nigerian students kidnapped on bus

Sept. 28, 2010 at 9:44 PM

ABA, Nigeria, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- A bus carrying 15 Nigerian nursery and primary school children was stopped by gunmen, the driver ordered off and the children abducted, officials said.

The students from the Abayi International School in Aba in Abia state, were kidnapped Monday by the unidentified gunmen and had yet to be found, the Nigerian Tribune, the News Agency of Nigeria and CNN reported Tuesday.

President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the abduction as "utterly callous and cruel kidnapping," and ordered the inspector general of police and other security agency heads "to take all necessary steps to rescue the abducted children and return them safely to their parents," CNN reported.

"As the driver came down, the hoodlums collected his cellphone and ordered him to lie face down while they drove off with the pupils towards Etche in Rivers (state)," a witness said.

The kidnappers are said to be demanding a ransom of about $130,000, the Nigerian News Agency said.

Last week, the Abia state government gave kidnappers in the state two weeks to give up their weapons and be rehabilitated through an amnesty program, the News Agency of Nigeria reported.

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