Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the abduction through an audio message. Gunmen on motorcycles attacked a state school in North West Nigeria.
More than 300 students at a secondary school remain unaccounted for, after groups of unidentified gunmen on motorcycles, armed with AK-47s, attacked the centre in Kankara town, Katsina State in northern Nigeria last Friday.
According to local authorities, there were more than 800 students at the government's Scientific and Technical secondary school at the time of the attack. Around 400 managed to escape and have been located.
“So far we are yet to account for 333 pupils”, the State’s governor, Aminu Masari, told reporters on Sunday.
The police have not yet been able to verify how many of them are still abducted and how many have gone into hiding in wooded areas or have taken refuge in their own or other homes.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said in a statement on Saturday: “I strongly condemn the cowardly bandits’ attack on innocent children”
Right after the abduction the government launched a joint rescue operation by Nigeria's police, air force and army. The military engaged in gunfights with bandits that were located in the Zango/Paula area area.
Neither the government nor the military had linked the identity of the attackers to any group, until this Tuesday, when governor Masari confirmed through his Twitter profile that “the abductors of our children have made contacts with the government and talks are ongoing to ensure their safety and return to their respective families”.
Furthermore, the government forces would have “located their position”.
The abductors of our Children have made contacts with the Government and talks are ongoing to ensure their safety and return to their respective families.
The security agencies deployed for rescue operations have also informed us that they have located their position.
— Aminu Bello Masari (@GovernorMasari) December 14, 2020
Boko Haram jihadist rebels claimed responsibility for the abduction through an audio message from a man identifying himself as the leader of the Nigerian terrorist group. “I am Abubakar Shekau and our brothers are behind the kidnapping in Katsina”, he said.
“What happened in Katsina was done to promote Islam and discourage un-Islamic practices as Western education is not the type of education permitted by Allah and his holy prophet”, Shekau added.
According to the latest edition of the Global Peace Index, Nigeria, the most populated country in Africa, is the fifth most violent country in sub-Saharan Africa.
An Amnesty International report published at the end of August found that 1,126 people were killed by armed groups in the first eight months of 2020. Millions of Christians throughout the country have denounced that violence, as in the demonstrations called by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
Amnesty International stressed that “the abduction in Kankara further exemplifies the government’s failure to protect rural communities, leaving them at the mercy of gunmen”.
“We are calling on the Nigerian authorities to safely and immediately rescue the students, while putting in place measures to ensure that the right to education is fully protected, even in rural areas, which are prone to banditry attacks”, it added.
Like it happened with the campaign launched after the kidnapping of the girls from Chibok in 2014, the hashtag #BringBackOurBoys has already begun to be used all acrossn social media.
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