Armed Militants in Nigeria have kidnapped 317 girls from a boarding school, The Christian Post reports.
The kidnappings follow a wave of abductions that have hit Africa's most populous country. Nasiru Abdullahi, one of the people who spoke to the Associated Press, told them his daughters are just two of the 317 that were kidnapped. They are just 10 and 13 years old. "It is disappointing that even though the military have a strong presence near the school they were unable to protect the girls, he told the Associated Press. "At this stage, we are only hoping on divine intervention.
Another local told the Associated Press that the gunmen attacked a local military base and checkpoint to prevent soldiers from coming in to fight back when the kidnapping happened. The attack reportedly began after 1 am. The gunmen forced some of the girls into vehicles while others went on foot into the Rugu forest, a forest that spans hundreds of miles.
According to an unnamed source at CNN, one of the people harmed in the attack was a police officer. "They came on about 20 motorcycles and they marched the abducted girls into the forest. The bandits arrived around 1:45 a.m. and they operated 'til about 3 a.m. The sad part is that there's a military checkpoint that is about four minutes away from the school," the source told CNN.
UNICEF's Nigeria Representative Peter Hawkins released a statement condemning the attack but also calling on Nigeria's government to do more, 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 – one which could have long-lasting effects on their mental health and well-being. We utterly condemn the attack and call on those responsible to release the girls immediately and for the government to take steps to ensure their safe release and the safety of all other schoolchildren in Nigeria."
"Children should feel safe at home and at school at all times – and parents should not need to worry for the safety of their children when they send them off to school in the morning," Hawkins said.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Kylie Ellway
John Paluska has been a contributor for Christian Headlines since 2016 and is the founder of The Washington Gazette, a news outlet he relaunched in 2019 as a response to the constant distribution of fake news.