The latest abductees included 53 male and 20 female students, all teenagers at a government secondary school in the remote village of Kaya, Zamfara state, Nigeria. Bandits invaded the school and seized the students. There have also been reports of communal clashes over access to land and resources in the regions. Groups set up camps in Rugu forest, in Zamfara, where they launch attacks in neighboring states. In February, 200 schoolgirls were abducted in Jangebe town.
According to Zamfara state’s Information Commissioner, Ibrahim Dosara, “We have closed primary and secondary schools in the state. But schools currently writing examinations are asked to stay behind until they finish their examinations. Heavy security presence will be provided to protect those writing exams.”
“The bandits have reached a stage now where all schools in Zamfara state have been closed down through their actions. The impact this will have on children who want to learn will be profound — not only on those 73 children whose lives are at stake for purposes of extortion but for all children in Zamfara who are prevented from being able to go to school and learn,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF’s representative to Nigeria. He added that an estimated 1.3 million Nigerian children have been affected by frequent raids on schools by gunmen.