Gunmen kidnap baby in raid on Nigeria hospital

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A one-year-old baby and up to seven other people have been kidnapped by armed gunmen from a hospital in Nigeria.

The attackers simultaneously launched an assault on police headquarters in Kaduna state to try to frustrate the force’s response.

Kidnappings have become endemic in northern Nigeria: this is the third time that the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Centre hospital in Zaria has been hit.

Hospital spokesperson Maryam Abdulrazaq said that six people were taken hostage from the facility’s staff residential quarters, including a nurse and her one-year-old child.

She added that another nurse, a lab technician, a security guard and one other staff member were taken during the hour-long attack.

Kaduna police, meanwhile, put the number of hostages at eight.

A spokesperson for the force, Muhammed Jalige, said that a “large number” of men from the same group as the kidnappers attacked their divisional headquarters at roughly the same time “in an attempt to overrun the officers on duty”.

Police repelled the attack after shots were fired from both sides, which injured some of the group, he said.

Officers recovered dozens of shell casings from rifles and machine guns, he added.

The kidnappers have not made ransom demands or attempted to make any contact with the hospital since the kidnapping, according to Ms Abdulrazaq.

Mr Jalige said that officers from tactical, anti-kidnapping and other police units are working to rescue the hostages.

Kidnappings for ransom have become increasingly common in the region in recent years.

More than 800 students have been abducted in northern Nigeria since December, at least 150 of whom remain missing.

Last month, a student was killed during a kidnapping at a school in Zaria and 10 people were kidnapped.

Local media reports that a further kidnapping at a school in Maraban Rido, Kaduna state, has occurred since, although details including the number of hostages taken are not yet known.

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