Nigerian military troops exchanged gunfire with about 100 gunmen in an attempt to rescue about 300 children who had been kidnapped from the Government Science School in Kankara, Nigeria.

The gunmen arrived on motorcycles and attacked the school on Friday. Many of the children fled and hid in the woods surrounding the area, but nearly half of them were rounded up, split into smaller groups, and taken by the gunmen. The school normally serves about 800 children.

Musa Adamu, a student at the school, said that he and several classmates jumped out of windows as soon as the gunfire erupted. “We headed to the fence and climbed on it and jumped down,” he said to CNN. “The gunshots sound got louder, we ran in different directions … into the forest. Most of us had no shoes on, and we kept running until we got tired and the sound of the gunshots faded.”

Government troops located the attackers and engaged in a running firefight with them aided by air support, according to President Muhammadu Buhari in a statement.