Gunmen kidnap 317 school girls in Zamfara; Amnesty International says education is under siege in Northern Nigeria

The Nigerian Police has confirmed that 317 schoolgirls were abducted Friday by unknown gunmen from Government Girls Junior Secondary School, Jangebe in Talata-Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara, Nigeria’s north western state.

This attack comes barely two weeks after gunmen kidnapped dozens of students and workers of Government Science College in Kagara, Rafi Local Government of Niger State, and are yet to be released.

Police spokesman Mohammed Shehu said in a statement that “the Zamfara State Police Command in collaboration with the military have commenced a joint search and rescue operations with a view to rescuing the 317 students kidnapped by the armed bandits in Government Girls Science Secondary School Jangebe”.

Earlier, Sulaiman Tanau Anka, information commissioner for Zamfara state, told Reuters news agency that “unknown gunmen … took the girls away” in a midnight raid on the Jangebe Government Girls’ Secondary School.

“Information available to me said they came with vehicles and moved the students, they also moved some on foot,” Anka said, adding that security forces were hunting through the area.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) which also confirmed the incidence condemned the act. “We are angered and saddened and by yet another brutal attack on schoolchildren in Nigeria,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF’s Nigeria representative.

Amnesty International has condemned these strings of attack on schools and abductions of students in the northern part of Nigeria.

The rights group lamented that attacks on schools and abductions of girls are war crimes and it undermines the right to education.

“The abduction of girls at Government Secondary School, Jangebe is a serious violation of international humanitarian law, and it undermines the right to education for thousands of children in northern Nigeria.

“The girls abducted are in serious risk of being harmed. Nigerian authorities must take all measures to return them to safety, along with all children currently under the custody of armed groups.

“Education is under attack in northern Nigeria. Schools should be places of safety, and no child should have to choose between their education and their life. Other children have had to abandon their education after being displaced by frequent violent attacks on their communities,” Amnesty International said in a series of tweets.

 

 

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