The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) on Friday said it was “angered and saddened” by the kidnap of nearly 300 schoolgirls from a school in Zamfara.
UNICEF Nigeria representative Peter Hawkins called the kidnap a brutal attack.
“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,” he said in a statement.
Gunmen attacked Government Girls Secondary School Jangebe, Talata Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara State, taking up to 300 students hostage.
Security sources believe the girls have been herded off into a forest.
Hawkins said they 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 school children 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,” said Hawkins.
UNICEF acknowledges efforts being made by the Government of Nigeria to secure the release of kidnapped school children in Nigeria and calls on the government and all concerned to make schools safe in Nigeria.
The Zamfara school attack comes just over a week after a similar attack took place in Niger State on a school for boys.
UNICEF is working with partners to confirm the exact number of kidnapped students, currently estimated to be more than 300.