AFRICA/NIGERIA - Schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria

Friday, 26 February 2021 kidnappings   students   bishops  

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - At least 300 students of the GGSS Jangebee Secondary School in the state of Zamfara, in the north-west of Nigeria, were kidnapped by gunmen on the night of 25 February. This was stated by the teachers and the parents of the girls, according to whom about a hundred armed men came with vehicles and entered the school around midnight. Zamfara state authorities say they do not yet know the exact number of people abducted.
This is the second such kidnapping in a little more than a week in Nigeria’s north, where at least 27 students, a teacher and six family members were kidnapped by armed men. In a further sign of the degeneration of insecurity in large areas of Nigeria, at least 16 people were killed on February 23 in an attack with mortar and rocket-propelled grenades in the suburbs of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State. The assault was claimed in a video by Jamā'at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da'wah wa'l-Jihād, the branch of Boko Haram, led by Abubakar Shekau.
Failure of federal authorities and individual states to guarantee security is increasing the number of self-defense forces promoted by local communities. A phenomenon that contributes to weakening national unity as recently denounced by the Nigerian Bishops. On the other hand, self-defense pressures are rapidly gaining ground. There are many ethnic groups that are beating the drums of war, demanding not only greater autonomy, but also the definitive renunciation of a nation in which they have lost all confidence and the sense of belonging. Demands for ethnic secession should not be ignored or taken lightly", reads a statement signed by His Exc. Mgr. Augustine Obiora Akubeze, Archbishop of Benin City and President of the Nigerian Bishops' Conference (CBCN), and by His Exc. Camillus Raymond Umoh, Bishop of Ikot Ekpene and Secretary of the CBCN (see Fides, 24/2/2021). According to the Bishops, "Nigeria is on the verge of collapse". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 26/2/2021)