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Nigerian Authorities Searching For 317 Schoolgirls Kidnapped By ‘Armed Bandits’


Nigerian authorities are searching for hundreds of schoolgirls who were kidnapped by gunmen in a raid early Friday morning, according to police in the northwestern state of Zamfara.
Police Commissioner Abutu Yaro told reporters that 317 girls had been kidnapped from Government Girls Science Secondary School in the town of Jangebe, according to its principal. He said that efforts to trace the kidnappers and retrieve the students are underway and that authorities were looking into information that they had been moved to neighboring forests.
“All of us are angry, and all of us are sad,” he said. “Despite that we need to have a coordinated response in order to [save lives] and bring the children back home.”
“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.
Amnesty International called the abduction a “serious violation of international humanitarian law” that undermines the right to education for thousands of students in the region. It said the abducted students are at “serious risk of being harmed” and called on authorities to take all measures to ensure the girls’ safe return, along with that of all students still in the custody of armed groups.
“Education is under attack in northern Nigeria,” Amnesty International tweeted. “Schools should be places of safety, and no child should have to choose between their education and their life. Other children have had to abandon their education after being displaced by frequent violent attacks on their communities.”

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