Gunmen abducted more than 300 schoolgirls from a boarding school in Nigeria in the wee hours on Friday, even with a strong military presence around the school. It happened in some far estate out of north-western Nigeria in Jangebe, Zamfara State.
The gunmen reportedly arrived after midnight and operated for at least an hour, after which they herded more than 300 girls, forced them into the bushes, and disappeared. The gunmen, around hundreds in number, crashed into the hostel premises with the pick-up vehicles and motorcycles, as told by a witness teacher. Some of the gunmen came dressed as official security forces of the government and shot at the security men at the gates. They reportedly woke up the girls, telling them that it’s time for prayers, and gathered them together. The girls were horrified and cried, and the gunmen pushed them to the forest. There were other witnesses who said that the gunmen came on foot.
Mass Abduction of Schoolgirls third in recent months
This is the latest mass abduction incident that has taken place in Nigeria. This area often witnesses the kidnappings of school children by armed gangs for ransom. In less than 3 months, it is the third school attack in Nigeria. No bandits association has taken responsibility for the kidnapping.
The parents of the children were flustered and gathered outside the school. Some parents also rushed to the bushes to look for their daughters. The police and military have been deployed in the ‘Jangebe’ area to search the girls.
President Buhari called the abduction as ‘inhumane’
President of Nigeria, ‘Muhammadu Buhari’, denounced the kidnappings in the north-western region of the country and called this act ‘inhumane’. He also asserted that the administration will not give in to blackmail from bandits, who are waiting for the payments of a large ransom. As the government has the capacity to deploy a massive force against them in the villages where they operate, the head of state added that the only hindrance is the fear of civilian casualties. The president stated that their goal is to get the teenage girls back unharmed, alive, and safe. Deploying force to attack them may lead them to use the schoolgirls as human shields.
Memories of Chibok Schoolgirls Abduction
This series of attacks revived traumatic memories of the ‘Chibok’ Schoolgirls abduction by ‘Jihadis’ about 7 years ago. In April 2014, 276 schoolgirls were abducted in Nigeria’s North-eastern town Chibok, By Islamist Militants organization ‘Boko Haram.’ While some girls escaped months after the kidnapping, many were rescued by Nigerian Military forces on different occasions.
UNICEF, the UN Children’s agency, has expressed anger and disappointment upon this horrific incident. They called the mass abduction brutal’ and ‘violation of children’s rights. Many initiatives like the ‘Safe school initiative’ and #bringbackourgirls have been launched in previous years to strengthen security in schools, however, a series of abductions has raised doubts about its implementation and success.
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org