More than 100 female students have been abducted from a school in the state of Borno in northeastern Nigeria. Militant Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram is suspected to have caused the attack. Gunmen reportedly entered the school’s hostel where the teenage girls were sleeping on the night of April 14th, ordered the students onto trucks, and drove away. Governments and news agencies around the world have condemned the mass kidnapping.
All educational centers in Borno state were closed three weeks ago due to Boko Haram attacks in the area, however this group of students had returned to their school in order to sit final exams. An estimated 14 girls escaped from the trucks as they were being driven away, but most of the 129 abducted students are still missing. Eighteen-year-old Godiyah Isaiah is one of the girls who managed to escape. She said that the gunmen initially posed as Nigerian soldiers who had arrived at the school to evacuate the students to a safer region.
Boko Haram is thought to have taken the students to their camps near the Cameroonian border. The group has abducted girls in the past to use for forced labor or sexual slavery. Groups from the Nigerian police force, army, and air force have been searching for the girls, as have many of the girls’ own parents, who have headed into the Sambisa forest to look for their children.
Boko Haram has carried out increasingly violent attacks in Nigeria in recent years as part of its campaign to create an Islamist Nigerian state. The group frequently targets schools, teachers, students, and ordinary civilians, and is said to have killed an estimated 1,500 people so far in 2014.
Creative Commons Love: UNHCR Photo Unit on Flickr.com