Lagos, Sep 16 (EFE).- At least one million children in Nigeria may not be able to return to classrooms when the new school year starts this month due to insecurity following the recent mass abductions of students in the country, Unicef warned Thursday.
A total of 1,436 children were kidnapped this year in some 20 armed attacks carried out on schools. Sixteen students were killed and more than 200 others are still missing, according to figures released by the UN children’s agency.
“It is unacceptable that communities should be worried to send their children to school over fears they will be abducted from what should be a safe space,” said Peter Hawkins, Unicef representative in Nigeria.
“It is unacceptable that children need to fear returning to their friends and classrooms – and that parents are afraid that if they send their children to school, they may never return.
“This insecurity must end so that children can return to their normal lives and benefit from all the important things being in school brings to them.”
The wave of mass kidnappings for ransom has been taking place since the start of this year in northern Nigeria at the hands of armed men, known locally as bandits.
More than 70 students were released Sunday after being kidnapped the week before from a secondary school in the northwestern state of Zamfara, where the army has launched an offensive against the bandits.
In June, Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian president, promised to put an end to these incidents and sent his condolences to the families of the victims. EFE