Gunmen abduct 317 girls from school in Nigeria

Ross Houston
February 27, 2021

Thursday's kidnapping is the latest in a string of abductions of adolescents in central and northwestern Nigeria perpetrated by criminal groups, known locally as "bandits", who terrorize the population, steal livestock, and loot villages.

On February 16, 42 people including 27 boys were taken from a school by a similar gang in nearby Niger state, and are yet to be freed.

It is Nigeria's third school attack in less than three months - a series that has revived traumatic memories of the "Chibok girls" kidnapped by extremists almost seven years ago.

According to local media reports, scores of residents incensed by the abduction stormed the streets of Jangebe, creating roadblocks and using sticks and stones to attack vehicles carrying journalists to the school and injuring a cameraman in the process.

"I receive call around 1:45am about wetin happun for di school and by 4am when I reach dia some parents don already dey dia but by den di gunmen don pack di students go, na just school authority dey try check who and who miss".

The prominent cleric had earlier met with the bandits in Zamfara where about 500 were reported to have repented in Shinkafi local government area.

One teacher told AFP "more than 300 are unaccounted for after a headcount of remaining students", while another teacher had a higher estimate. They were eventually rescued by security forces or escaped.

"I'm on my way to Jangebe".

The National Parent Teacher Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN) has called on federal and state governments to protect schools and students from all security threats or parents will be forced to withdraw their children from all boarding facilities in the country.

Nasiru Abdullahi said his daughters, aged 10 and 13, were among the missing.

The UN children's agency Unicef said it was "angered and saddened" by yet another mass abduction of students in Nigeria describing it as "brutal" and a "violation of children's rights".

Rilwanu say di mood for Jangebe town at di moment na sad one as every corner na di same discussion but dem use Friday muslim prayers pray for di release of di girls.

A surge in armed militancy in the northwest has led to a breakdown of security in the north of Africa's most populous country.

Hundreds of people have been killed in the north by criminal gangs carrying out robberies and kidnappings.

Though most of the recent kidnappings have happened in the north-west, which were not covered by the Safe Schools Initiative, the 2018 abduction of 110 schoolgirls from Government Science School, Dapchi in north-eastern Yobe state raised questions about the success of the initiative.

Bandits operate out of camps in Rugu forest, which straddles Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger states. These groups are largely driven by financial motives, but there are concerns they are being infiltrated by jihadi militants waging an insurgency in the region.

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