(Update 1: adds further info on Kagara schoolboys)
Brussels/Lagos, Feb 27 (efe-epa).- The international community has called for the release of 317 girls who were kidnapped from their public secondary school in the northwestern Nigerian state of Zamfara.
Nigerian armed forces and the police have launched a search and rescue operation for the girls. A member of the school told local newspaper The Punch that armed men stormed the center in the town of Jangebe at 1 am Friday and abducted the girls using Toyota Hilux pick-up trucks and motorcycles.
It came nine days after 28 schoolboys and several members of staff were abducted from a school in Kagara, Niger state. According to the local governor Saturday, an undetermined number of the boys and staff members have been freed. Local media suggested all had been released.
In a statement Friday, the European Union said: “The EU calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, including the Kagara schoolboys taken more than a week ago, and the hundreds of girls abducted today from their school in Jangebe, Zamfara state.”
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “appalled” by the incident. “The girls must be released to their families immediately & unconditionally,” he posted on his Twitter account.
In December some 344 girls were captured from their school in the northwestern state of Katsina. Boko Haram, an Islamist terror organization active in northern Nigeria and its neighboring territories, claimed responsibility for the Katsina kidnap.
The Katsina schoolgirls were liberated a week later after being found in a forest in the neighboring state of Zamfara, where the most recent kidnapping took place. EFE