2021: 821 Students Kidnapped, 61 Still In Captivity

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News Investigators/ The United Nations Children Emergency Fund on Friday decried the high rate of children’s abductions, violations among others in 2021.

This was as the UN organisation classified Nigeria, Somalia, Congo, Chad, Cameroon and Niger as the countries with the highest cases of verified abductions.

This was also as a tally conducted by Saturday PUNCH revealed that no fewer than 821 students were abducted in multiple schools attacks across northern states.

The tally also revealed that about 61 students still remain in captivity 199 days after their abduction.

UNICEF, in its statement made available to Saturday PUNCH, had said, “Year after year, parties to conflict continue to demonstrate a dreadful disregard for the rights and well-being of children. Children are suffering, and children are dying because of this callousness. Every effort should be made to keep these children safe from harm.

“Verified abductions were highest in Somalia, followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the countries of the Lake Chad Basin (Chad, Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger). Verified instances of sexual violence were highest in the DRC, Somalia and the Central African Republic

“During the period under review, abductions were recorded in Kagara, Niger State; Jangebe, Zamfara State; Afaka, Kaduna State, Rama Kaduna State; Greenfield University, Kaduna; Tegina, Niger; Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, Kaduna; and FGC Birnin Yauri, Kebbi State.”

In the early hours of February 17, no fewer than 27 pupils were abducted from Government Science College in Kagara, Niger state. The Niger State government put the official number of abducted students at 27 while it was added that 15 members of staff were also abducted. The victims were released after 10 days in captivity.

In Jangebe, Zamfara state, gunmen stormed the Government Girls Secondary School and made away with 279 students, the students were later freed on March 2 after what was said to be a “peaceful reconciliation” between the bandits and the government.

Less than two weeks after the students were freed, gunmen attacked the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation and made away with 29 students.

The students, who were abducted on March 12, were released after pool of contributions from their parents.

Speaking in an interview with Saturday PUNCH, the Vice Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, North, Rev. Joseph Ayahab, said, “Abduction of any human being is evil, illegal and those who are doing it are supposed to face the wrath of the law but unfortunately the criminals are having a field day because we have a weak government. -Punch

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