New abduction at Nigeria school, hundreds unaccounted for

Ruben Hill
Февраля 27, 2021

This latest mass kidnapping took place just nine days after another similar attack on February 16 in a secondary school in Kagara, Niger state, where at least 27 students, a teacher and six members of his family were kidnapped by armed men.

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.

In December, dozens of gunmen abducted 344 schoolboys from the town of Kankara in northwest Katsina state.

It said the abducted students are at "serious risk of being harmed", and called on authorities to take all measures to ensure their safe return, along with that of all students still in the custody of armed groups.

Resident Musa Mustapha said the gunmen also attacked a nearby military camp and checkpoint, preventing soldiers from interfering while the gunmen spent several hours at the school.

Police Commissioner Abutu Yaro told reporters that 317 girls had been kidnapped from Government Girls Science Secondary School in the town of Jangebe, according to its principal.

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to the UN Security Council and its members urging them to "urgently hold a special session on Nigeria and to visit the country to press the authorities to end continuing abductions of students and the increasing level of insecurity across the country".

Local reports described how unidentified gunmen invaded the town around 2 am and snatched more than 300 girls, aged 12-17, from the Government Girls' Secondary School in the town of Jangebe in northern Zamfara state. "It is possible some of them managed to escape, but we are not sure", the teacher said.

He also advised states and local governments to be more proactive by improving security around schools and their surroundings.

"I'm on my way to Jangebe".

"The villagers stoned the two vehicles we were in, which forced us to hurriedly leave", said Umar Shehu, a reporter with Daily Trust newspaper, told AFP. "If that could not be granted, then we have no option but to think of how to take our children away from boarding schools".

"We are angered and saddened by yet another brutal attack on schoolchildren in Nigeria", he said.

A surge in armed militancy has led to a breakdown of security in the north of Africa's most populous country, where school kidnappings are becoming endemic.

It was the second such kidnapping in little over a week in a region increasingly targeted by militants and criminal gangs.

But there are concerns they are being infiltrated by jihadists who are fighting out a decade-old conflict that has killed more than 30,000 people and spread into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

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