Nigeria: A Year On, No Word on 300 Abducted Children

29.03.16

(Gender-based Violence / Violent Extremism)

The Nigerian government should take urgent steps to secure the release of about 400 women and children, including at least 300 elementary school students, abducted by Boko Haram from the town of Damasak in Borno State a year ago. It is unclear whether the Nigerian government has made any serious effort to secure their release.

Damasak is the largest documented school abduction by Boko Haram militants. Yet it has drawn far less public attention than the group’s widely condemned abduction of 276 school girls from a government secondary school in Chibok in April 2014. While 57 of those girls managed to escape, 219 remain captive almost two years later.

“Three hundred children have been missing for a year, and yet there has been not a word from the Nigerian government,” said Mausi Segun, Nigeria researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities need to wake up and find out where the Damasak children and other captives are and take urgent steps to free them.”

On November 24, 2014, Boko Haram attacked Damasak, a trading town about 200 kilometers northwest of Maiduguri, near the border with Niger, blocking all four roads leading into the town and trapping residents and traders. The insurgents quickly occupied Zanna Mobarti Primary School, shutting the gates and locking more than 300 students, ages 7 to 17, inside, according to a teacher at the school and other witnesses Human Rights Watch interviewed. The Boko Haram militants then used the school as a military base, bringing scores of other women and children abducted across the town there as captives.

Read the full article from Human Rights Watch.