One million Nigerian children to miss school due to mass kidnappings, UNICEF says


FILE PHOTO: A view shows an empty classroom at the Government Science school where gunmen abducted students, in Kankara, in northwestern Katsina state, Nigeria December 14, 2020. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

ABUJA (Reuters) - At least one million Nigerian children could miss school this year as the new term begins amid a rise in mass school kidnappings and insecurity, the United Nations children's agency UNICEF said on Wednesday.

Schools have become targets for mass abductions for ransom in northern Nigeria by armed groups. Such kidnappings in Nigeria were first carried out by jihadist group Boko Haram then later its offshoot Islamic State West Africa Province, but the tactic has now been adopted by criminal gangs.

So far, there has been 20 attacks on schools in Nigeria this year, with more than 1,400 children abducted and 16 dead, UNICEF said, adding that more than 200 children are still missing.

"Learners are being cut off from their education... as families and communities remain fearful of sending children back to their classrooms due to the spate of school attacks and student abductions in Nigeria," said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria.

More than 37 million Nigerian children are due to start the new school year this month, UNICEF said. An estimated eight million have had to wait for more than a year for in-person learning after schools were closed due to COVID-19 lockdowns.

Insecurity also lead to school closures in Nigeria.

Several northwestern states have tried to curb the spate of abductions by banning the sale of fuel in jerry cans and the transport of firewood in trucks in order to disrupt gangs who travel by motorbike and camp in remote places.

In Abuja, Nigeria's capital, the start of the school term has been pushed back to an unusually late date without explanation, after schools in nearby states were targeted by kidnappers seeking ransoms.

(Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights
   

Next In World

Bolivia government says Haiti-linked group planned 2020 plot against President Arce
Hundreds protest in Bangladesh over religious violence
Germany's Axel Springer dismisses top Bild editor after media reports
Record haul of cocaine seized from sailboat off Portugal's coast
Venezuela envoy Alex Saab to be arraigned in U.S. court on money laundering charges
Lebanon tensions test Hezbollah-Aoun alliance
German parties give green light to three-way coalition talks
EU's Borrell 'optimistic' about possible new Iran talks
Haitians strike to protest kidnappings; pressure grows to free missionaries
Deaths in Norway attack came from stab wounds, not bow and arrow, police say

Others Also Read


Vouchers