LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Gunmen kidnapped 317 women from a boarding faculty in northern Nigeria on Friday, police mentioned, the newest in a collection of mass kidnappings of scholars within the West African nation.
Police and the army have begun joint operations to rescue the women after the assault on the Ladies Science Secondary College in Jangebe city, in keeping with a police spokesman in Zamfara state, Mohammed Shehu, who confirmed the quantity kidnapped.
One dad or mum, Nasiru Abdullahi, advised The Related Press that his daughters, aged 10 and 13, are among the many lacking.
“It’s disappointing that despite the fact that the army have a robust presence close to the varsity they have been unable to guard the women,” he mentioned. “At this stage, we’re solely counting on divine intervention.”
Resident Musa Mustapha mentioned the gunmen additionally attacked a close- army camp and checkpoint, stopping troopers from interfering whereas the gunmen spent a number of hours on the faculty. It was not instantly clear if there have been any casualties.
A number of giant teams of armed males function in Zamfara state, described the federal government as bandits, and are recognized to kidnap for cash and for the discharge of their members from jail.
“We’re angered and saddened yet one more brutal assault on schoolchildren in Nigeria,” mentioned Peter Hawkins, UNICEF consultant within the nation. “This can be a gross violation of kids’s rights and a horrific expertise for kids to undergo.” He referred to as for his or her instant launch.
Nigeria has seen a number of such assaults and kidnappings through the years, notably the mass abduction in April 2014 jihadist group Boko Haram of 276 women from the secondary faculty in Chibok in Borno state. Greater than 100 of the women are nonetheless lacking.
Friday’s assault got here lower than two weeks after gunmen kidnapped 42 individuals, together with 27 college students, from the Authorities Science School Kagara in Niger State. The scholars, academics and relations are nonetheless being held.
In December, 344 college students have been kidnapped from the Authorities Science Secondary College Kankara in Katsina State. They have been ultimately launched.
Anietie Ewang, Nigeria researcher at Human Rights Watch, famous the current abductions and tweeted that “Sturdy motion is required from the authorities to show the tide & preserve colleges protected.”
Amnesty Worldwide additionally condemned the “appalling assault,” warning in an announcement that “the women kidnapped are in severe danger of being harmed.”
Academics have been pressured to flee to different states for cover, and lots of youngsters have needed to abandon their schooling amid frequent violent assaults in communities, Amnesty mentioned.
AP author Carley Petesch in Dakar, Senegal contributed to this report.
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