Nigeria commences op to rescue 317 abducted schoolgirls

27th Feb 2021
Nigeria commences op to rescue 317 abducted schoolgirls

By Olarewaju Kola

MAIDUGUEI, Nigeria (AA): Nigerian military and police began operations to rescue hundreds of schoolgirls abducted from a boarding school early Friday in northwest Zamfara State, according to officials.

Governor Bello Mohammed said police and other security agencies are using surveillance aircraft in the rescue effort.

“Currently, police helicopters and other search and rescue operatives have been deployed to the area,” he said.

Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu also confirms the deployment of combat police.

Outcry and condemnations have come in the wake of the kidnapping of 317 schoolgirls early Friday at the Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe that was attacked by armed men, according to witnesses.

Alhaji Bello Maikusa Jangebe, a father of one of the students said he was woken up by gunshots in the early morning.

President Mohammadu Buhari in a statement described the incident as an act of criminality. He warned regional governments against negotiating with the kidnappers.

“We will not succumb to blackmail and tactics by criminals,” he said.

Senate President Ahmed Lawal said the abductions were a negative trend coming nearly two weeks after gunmen killed a student and kidnapped 42 others, including 27 pupils, in Kangara.

Peter Hawkins, Nigeria’s UNICEF representative, called for the immediate release of the schoolgirls, saying: “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.”

Seven girls were found late Friday but two security sources said they were not among those kidnapped. They said the girls escaped from the scene of the abduction.

The incident comes a week after gunmen struck the Government Secondary School in Kagara, Niger State, abducting school pupils, teachers and workers.

Nigeria has seen several such attacks and kidnappings over the years, notably the mass abduction in April 2014 by Boko Haram of 276 girls from a secondary school in Chibok in Borno state.

[Map of Nigeria by Wikipedia]

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