Nigerian: One million children to miss school due to mass kidnappings, UNICEF says

Schools have grow to be targets for mass abductions for ransom in northern Nigeria by armed teams. Such kidnappings in Nigeria had been first carried out by jihadist group Boko Haram then later its offshoot Islamic State West Africa Province, however the tactic has now been adopted by legal gangs.

So far, there was 20 assaults on faculties in Nigeria this yr, with greater than 1,400 children kidnapped and 16 useless, UNICEF mentioned, including that greater than 200 children are nonetheless lacking.

“Learners are being cut off from their education… as families and communities remain fearful of sending children back to their classrooms due to the spate of school attacks and student abductions in Nigeria,” mentioned Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria.

Schools in Nigerian state shut after mass kidnapping of students by gunmenSchools in Nigerian state shut after mass kidnapping of students by gunmen

More than 37 million Nigerian children are due to begin the brand new school yr this month, UNICEF mentioned.

An estimated eight million have had to anticipate greater than a yr for in-person studying after faculties had been closed due to COVID-19 lockdowns.

Insecurity additionally led to school closures in Nigeria. Several northwestern states have tried to curb the spate of abductions by banning the sale of gasoline in jerry cans and the transport of firewood in vans so as to disrupt gangs who journey by motorcycle and camp in distant locations.

In Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, the beginning of the school time period has been pushed again to an unusually late date with out rationalization, after faculties in close by states had been focused by kidnappers looking for ransoms.

Mobile community suppliers in Zamfara state had been directed to shut down communications for 2 weeks “to enable relevant security agencies to carry out required activities towards addressing the security challenge in the state,” the Nigeria Communications Commission mentioned in a letter.

The directive got here after not less than 73 college students had been kidnapped from a state-run excessive school in Zamfara’s Maradun district. All these college students have been freed.

Military authorities carried out targeted raids on the hideouts of kidnappers and different legal gangs within the state, who’re recognized regionally as ‘bandits.’