UN SECRETARY GENERAL CONDEMNS ANDUCTION OF SECONDARY SCHOOL GIRLS IN KASTINA

… Calls For Immediate Release of the Girls

The Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) Antonio Guterres on Monday condemned the attack by gunmen at Government Science Secondary School, Kankara in Katsina State on Friday.

Guterres who made this known in a press statement issued by the organisation’s spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric expressed his concern over the continuous abductions of students.

He, however, called for the “immediate and unconditional” release of no fewer than 333 male students the attackers abducted from the school.

According to the statement, “The secretary-general strongly condemns the December 11 attack on a secondary school in Katsina State, Nigeria and the reported abduction of hundreds of boys by suspected armed bandits,” the statement said.

“He calls for the immediate and unconditional release of the abducted children and for their safe return to their families. The secretary-general reiterates that attacks on schools and other educational facilities constitute a grave violation of human rights.”

The UN chief urged security agencies to arrest and bring those responsible for the heinous act to justice.

He reaffirmed the “solidarity and support” of the organisation to the federal government and Nigerians in their fight “against terror, violent extremism and organized crime”.

It was reported earlier that gunmen on motorcycles stormed the Government Science School at Kankara late on Friday and engaged security forces in a fierce gunbattle, forcing hundreds of students to flee and hide in surrounding bushes.

Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, who visited the school on Saturday said soldiers were working to locate and free the hostages. the governor noted that 333 students are still missing.

In a similar vein, The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has also flayed the abduction and called for the boys’ immediate release.

A statement issued by the agency said it is “deeply concerned about these acts of violence”, describing attacks on schools as a violation of children’s rights.

“UNICEF condemns in the strongest possible terms this brutal attack and calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all children and their return to their families.”

Its Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Marie-Pierre Poirier, issued a separate statement expressing solidarity with the families of the students and their communities.

Poitier said that the violence was a “grim reminder” that abductions of children and widespread grave violations of children’s rights continue to take place in the northern part of Nigeria.

“Children should feel safe at home, in schools, and in their playgrounds at all times.

“We stand with the families of the missing children and the community affected by this horrifying event,” she said.

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