The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has described the abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls from a Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS) in Zamfara State as “a gross violation of children’s rights”.
The UNICEF Country Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, who stated this in a tweet yesterday, said the abducted girls “are at serious risk of being harmed”, adding that the federal government set up measures to facilitate the return of all children currently under the custody of armed groups.
Earlier on, the Police had confirmed that 317 female students were abducted when unknown gunmen invaded the school situated in Jangebe village, Talatan-Mafara local government area of the State. Hawkins, while calling for the safe rescue of the schoolgirls, demanded that all stakeholders in the country should make schools safe.
Recall that the Zamfara abduction came about eight days after 27 students and 15 workers of Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State, were kidnapped from their dormitories. The schoolboys and workers are yet to regain their freedom as of the time of this report.
Meanwhile, the Zamfara State Police Command also disclosed that it is collaborating with the Nigerian Armed Forces to commence joint search and rescue operations for the kidnapped students. This was contained in a press statement issued by the Command’s Public Relations Officer, Superintendent Mohammed Shehu.
He said that the Commissioner of Police, Abutu Yaro and the Force Commander, ‘Operations Hadarin-Daji’, Major-Gen. Aminu Bande and the Brigade Commander 1 Brigade, Nigeria Army Gusau, along with State government officials have led a heavily armed re – enforcement team to Jangebe to complement the ongoing rescue operation in the area.