About 125 students are still missing after Bethel Baptist High School in northwest Nigeria was raided by a group of armed kidnappers during the night early Monday morning.
According to Nigerian authorities, the students were abducted overnight by a group of armed bandits seeking ransom money. The attackers entered the school forcefully and killed two security guards in the process.
Monday’s attack is the 10th mass kidnapping at a school in northwest Nigeria since December. Over 1,000 students have been abducted in the past six months alone.
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The United Nations’ Children Agency expressed concern over the rise in abductions, describing Monday’s raid as “the latest incident in an alarming spate of attacks against children and abductions” and asserting that “such incidents appear to be increasing in frequency, raising fears for the safety and wellbeing of the region’s children.”
Many have expressed frustration with the Nigerian government’s handling of the rise in mass kidnappings but also in a lack of assistance from partner countries such as the United States.
In Nigeria, many schools have been forced to close due to an inability to adequately protect students from danger. According to the UNICEF, roughly 300,000 to 400,000 students in northwest Nigeria are out of school due to insecurity.
A region plagued by instability, insecurity, and extremism, the trend of mass kidnappings of students in Nigeria represents not only an attack on the most vulnerable but also on education as a whole.
“There is a risk of losing an entire generation due to lack of education,” said Isa Sanusi, spokesman for Amnesty International in Nigeria.
Children have consistently fallen victim to premeditated armed abductions while schools have become a target for cruelty rather than a place for education, making Nigeria the most dangerous place to go to school in the world.