UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the abduction of school children from an Islamic school in the northcentral Nigerian state of Niger, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said on Monday.
On Sunday, gunmen invaded the town of Tegina and abducted “an unconfirmed number” of students from the Salihu Tanko Islamic school, leaving one person dead, the Niger State Government said via Twitter. About 200 children were in the school when the gunmen attacked.
“The Secretary-General strongly condemns the abduction of students from an Islamic school in Tegina town in Nigeria’s Niger state that took place on Sunday on May 30,” Dujarric said.
Dujarric said Guterres was disturbed by the frequency of abductions for a ransom of students by extremists in Nigeria, which has become an “abhorrent pattern” with a profound impact on children’s well-being.
“The Secretary-General reiterates that this constitutes a violation of the rights of children to education and underscores the need to hold perpetrators accountable,” the spokesman added.
Nigeria is regularly subjected to attacks, killings, and kidnappings, conducted either by bandits or jihadists for ransom or other purposes. Since December, militant groups abducted more than 700 students for ransom in northern Nigeria.
Boko Haram – which means “Western education is forbidden” – the militant group linked to the Islamic State terror group (banned in Russia), appears to have intensified its attacks and abductions of schoolchildren across the Western African nation over the past several months.