At least 30 students are feared kidnapped in Nigeria after gunmen raided a college in a northwestern state.

The suspected kidnap gang stormed the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation in Mando, Kaduna state, around 9:30pm (8:30pm GMT) yesteday, shooting indiscriminately and taking students hostage.

The college was said to have some 300 male and female students, mostly aged 17 and older,  at the time of the attack.

Kaduna state commissioner for internal security Samuel Aruwan said 30 of the students were missing while the army was able to rescue 180 people after a fierce battle with the gunmen.

"The troops successfully rescued 180 citizens; 42 female students, eight staff and 130 male students," Aruwan said in a statement.

"However, about 30 students, a mix of males and females, are yet to be accounted for."

The commissioner said some of the rescued students were injured during the operation and had been hospitalised in a military facility.

Heavily-armed gangs in northwest and central Nigeria have stepped up attacks in recent years, kidnapping for ransom, raping and pillaging.

Attackers have recently turned their attention on schools where they kidnap students or schoolchildren for ransom. Yesterday's was at least the fourth such attack since December.