LAGOS, Nigeria — Gunmen kidnapped 317 girls from a boarding school in northern Nigeria on Friday, the police said, the latest in a series of mass kidnappings of students within the northern part of the country.
The police and the army have begun joint operations to rescue the students after the assault on the Girls Science Secondary School in Jangebe town, in keeping with a police spokesman in Zamfara state, Mohammed Shehu, who confirmed the number kidnapped.
One dad or mum, Nasiru Abdullahi, advised The Related Press that his daughters, aged 10 and 13, have been among the many lacking.
“It is disappointing that even though the military have a strong presence near the school they were unable to protect the girls,” he said. “At this stage, we are only hoping on divine intervention.”
One resident, Musa Mustapha, said the gunmen additionally attacked a close-by army camp and checkpoint, stopping soldiers from interfering whereas the gunmen spent a number of hours on the school. It was not instantly clear if there have been any casualties.
A number of massive teams of armed men function in Zamfara state, described by the government as bandits, and are identified to kidnap for cash and for the release of their members from jail.
“We are angered and saddened by yet another brutal attack on schoolchildren in Nigeria,” said Peter Hawkins, Unicef consultant within the country. “This is a gross violation of children’s rights and a horrific experience for children to go through.” He known as for his or her rapid release.
Nigeria has seen a number of such assaults and kidnappings through the years, notably the mass abduction in April 2014 by jihadist group Boko Haram of 276 girls from the secondary school in Chibok in Borno state. More than 100 of the girls are nonetheless lacking.
Friday’s assault got here lower than two weeks after gunmen kidnapped 42 people, together with 27 students, from the Government Science College Kagara in Niger State. The students, teachers and family members are nonetheless being held.
In December, 344 students have been kidnapped from the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara in Katsina State. They have been finally released.
Anietie Ewang, Nigeria researcher at Human Rights Watch, noted the current abductions and posted on Twitter that “Strong action is required from the authorities to turn the tide & keep schools safe.”
Amnesty International additionally condemned the “appalling attack,” warning in a statement that “the girls abducted are in serious risk of being harmed.”
Teachers have been forced to flee to other states for defense, and many children have needed to abandon their education amid frequent violent assaults in communities, Amnesty said.