Nigeria and its international partners urgently need to act to “ensure the safety of its citizens.” The remark from an Open Doors spokesperson, follows another mass kidnapping of schoolchildren in Niger State yesterday.
Unidentified gunmen stormed the Government Science collage in Kagara, yesterday (Jan 17). Muhammad Sani Idris, spokesman for Niger state’s government, reported that: “They kidnapped 42 people from the school. They took away 27 students, along with three teachers. One student was killed.”
“Kidnapping of Christians and moderate Muslim civilian by Islamic radicals have become almost everyday occurrences,”
said Jo Newhouse, Open Doors Spokesperson for sub-Saharan Africa.
“Because of insufficient protection from government security forces, children especially, are exposed to extremely worrying levels of danger and trauma. Decisive action is needed by Nigeria and its international partners to ensure the safety of its citizens, no matter their race, gender, or religion.”
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Defence Minister Bashir Magashi has responded to the latest attack by urging communities ‘don’t be cowards’.
“[W]e shouldn’t be cowards. At times, the bandits will only come with about three rounds of ammunition, when they fire a shot everybody runs… I don’t know why people run away from a minor thing like that. They should stand.”
“This isn’t what Nigerian people are expecting to hear from the Government,” says Open Doors spokesperson Illia Djadi. “Nigerian people desperately need protection from these armed gangs. People are no longer safe in their homes or at church. President Buhari was elected on the promise to eradicate Boko Haram. That’s what people are waiting for.”
The kidnapping happened just two days before the 3rd anniversary of 2018 kidnapping in which the group Islamic State West Africa took 110 girls from Dapchi in Yobe State. A month later all survivors except 1 were released. Leah Shariibu, 14 at the time, remained captive because she refused to convert to Islam.
It is believed that the numbers of those still in captivity following such kidnappings, run into the thousands.