UN chief calls for immediate release of abducted children in Nigeria

UN, December 14, 2020

More than three hundred children are reported to be still missing, with many feared abducted, after armed gunmen stormed the all boys Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, Katsina state, late Friday evening (local time).

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Secretary-General António Guterres strongly condemned the attack and called for the children’s safe return to their families. 

“He reiterates that attacks on schools and other educational facilities constitute a grave violation of human rights. He urges the Nigerian authorities to bring those responsible for this act to justice,” the statement added. 

Mr. Guterres also reaffirmed  the UN’s solidarity and support to the Government and people of Nigeria in their fight against terrorism, violent extremism and organized crime. 

‘Grim reminder’ 

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) also denounced the attack and called for the children’s release. 

In a separate statement, Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, said that the violence “is a grim reminder” that abductions of children and widespread grave violations of children’s rights continue to take place in northern 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.” 

In February 2018, Boko Haram insurgents kidnapped over 100 school girls from a secondary school in the town of Dapchi, in northeast Nigeria. Six years ago, in 2014, the militant group abducted 276 girls from their school dormitory in Chibok. Many of them remain missing.