300 Schoolgirls Kidnapped in Nigeria’s Zamfara State

On 26 February 2021, news broke in the early morning that an unidentified group of gun-wielding assailants abducted some 317 Nigerian schoolgirls in a midnight ambush on Jangebe Government Girls’ Secondary School. Zamfara State’s Commissioner of Information, Hon. Saluiman Tunau Anka, confirmed that the kidnapping occurred sometime around midnight, and that some of the students were able to escape and avoid being abducted. A search and reinforcement team led by Commissioner of Police CP Abuto Yaro, Force Commander of Operations Hadarin Daji, and Major General Aminu Bande was sent to Jangebe to attempt to rescue the 317 kidnapped schoolgirls.

See responses to the kidnapping below:

“We are angered and saddened by yet another brutal attack on schoolchildren in Nigeria. This is a gross violation of children’s rights and a horrific experience for children to go through – one which could have long-lasting effects on their mental health and well-being. We utterly condemn the attack and call on those respondible to release the girls immediately and for the government to take steps to ensure their safe release and the safety of all other schoolchildren in Nigeria. Children should feel safe at home and at school at all times – and parents should not need to worry for the safety of their children when they send them off to school in the morning.” – Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria

“It is unacceptable that attacks on schools and students has become a recurring scenario in Northern Nigeria. Schools are supposed to be safe places for children to play, learn, realise and release their full potential. Instead, they are being turned into places of fear. We condemn any attacks on schools, students and teachers. Children have the right to an undisturbed education in a safe environment. These attacks and abductions can cause severe psychological trauma to children, and create the risk that they will never return to school because they or their parents will think it’s too dangerous. The children and their parents must be given adequate support for a swift return to normal life, and those who are still missing must be found as soon as possible. Every day spent outside of their community is one too many.” – Mercy Gichuhi, Nigeria Country Director, Save the Children

Cover image by Commonwealth Secretariat on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)