Hundreds of apparently abducted school children are missing after an attack by armed men on a school in Nigeria. In Friday's attack on the government secondary school in Kankara in the northern region of Katsina, the attackers fired automatic weapons at each other, police spokesman Gambo Isah said earlier on Saturday. Eyewitnesses told German Press-Agent that numerous children were abducted.
About 200 children and teenagers on the grounds of the boarding school managed to escape amid exchanges of fire between the attackers and police. However, hundreds disappeared; there was still no trace of them on Sunday despite a large-scale search with the help of the armed forces.
The Nigerian "Daily Post" spoke on Sunday of 600 abducted students. The Punch newspaper reported protests in Katsina on Sunday that was also directed against the government. Demonstrators had chanted "We want our children back" and "We want security in Kankara."
Unicef calls for "immediate and unconditional release"
The children's charity Unicef's West and Central Africa regional director, Marie-Pierre Poirier condemned the abduction and called for the "immediate and unconditional release of all children and their return to their families." Unicef said it was deeply disturbed by the case, which once again highlights widespread grave violations of children's rights in northern Nigeria. In a statement, it commended the efforts of Nigeria's government to bring the missing children home safely.
In the past, the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram has raided schools, abducted children, and forcibly converted Christian girls. The terrorist group wants to establish an Islamist regime in northern Nigeria. Children are forced to carry out attacks or abused as sex slaves. On April 14, 2014, Boko Haram abducted 276 schoolgirls from a school in the town of Chibok in northern Nigeria, making headlines around the world. 57 girls have since escaped 107 have been freed, and there is still no trace of the other 112.
It was unclear who was behind the crime in this case. According to initial investigations, it could also be criminals who want to extort ransom money.
Francis Tawiah (Duisburg - Germany)