UNICEF calls for immediate release of abducted school girls in Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria
Statement attributable to Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa
DAKAR / NEW YORK/GENEVA, 16 April 2014 - UNICEF condemns in the strongest possible terms the reported abduction of some 100 school girls between 12 and 17 years old from their school hostel in Chibok Borno State on Monday night, and calls for their immediate and unconditional release.
UNICEF is deeply concerned about the persistent trend of attacks on schools in Nigeria. Most recently, unidentified gunmen killed 53 children between 13 and 17 years old at the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State, in February.
Such brutal acts of violence are unacceptable. Attacks on schools deny children their right to learn in a safe environment and can rob them of their future. Wherever it takes place, abduction of children is a crime and illegal under international law.
Monday night’s attack on the Chibok school took place hours after over 70 people were killed in a bomb attack at a bus station in the Nyanyan neighbourhood, close to the capital, Abuja.
UNICEF expresses its deepest solidarity to all the communities affected by these horrific acts, and stands with the families of the abducted children in these difficult times. The agency calls for greater efforts to protect all children throughout Nigeria.
The Nigerian government should urgently take steps to make sure that the children are returned to their families unharmed and that they can continue their education in a safe environment.
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.
UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.