Boko Haram has abducted more than 1,000 children in northeast Nigeria since 2013, the United Nations’ children’s agency announced Friday.
According to koodakpress، The number of children kidnapped by the Nigerian terrorist group includes 276 girls snatched from a boarding school in the northeast town of Chibok on the night of April 14, 2014, four years ago today.
Some of the Chibok schoolgirls managed to escape, while others were later rescued or freed following negotiations. But four years on from that fateful night, more than 100 of them have yet to be returned to their families, according to UNICEF.
“The four-year anniversary of the Chibok abduction reminds us that children in northeastern Nigeria continue to come under attack at a shocking scale,” Mohamed Malick Fall, UNICEF representative in Nigeria, said in a statement Friday. “They are consistently targeted and exposed to brutal violence in their homes, schools and public places.”
Since Boko Haram launched its insurgency in the northeast region nine years ago, at least 2,295 teachers have been killed and over 1,400 schools have been destroyed. Most of these schools haven’t been able to reopen due to extensive damage or ongoing insecurity in the area, according to UNICEF.
Most recently, suspected Boko Haram fighters abducted 110 students from an girls’ boarding school in the northeast town of Dapchi in the middle of the night on Feb. 19. More than a month later, 104 of the schoolgirls were freed by their captors following “back-channel efforts and with the help of some friends of the country,” according to Segun Adeyemi, spokesman for Nigeria’s Ministry of Information and Culture.
One of the Dapchi schoolgirls, Liya Sharibu, wasn’t released because she had apparently refused her captors’ orders to convert from Chistianity to Islam, her father told reporters. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari confirmed in a statement that Sharibu is “the only Dapchi schoolgirl still in captivity,” adding that she “will not be abandoned.”
Five other Dapchi schoolgirls who remain unaccounted for are believed to have died at the hands of their captors.