from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – GUNMEN have released 91 students abducted in central Nigeria three months ago.
One of the students, aged six, however died in captivity.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) expressed mixed feelings.
It expressed relief the students of Salihu Tanko Islamiya School Tegina, in Niger State, had been freed.
UNICEF condemned the death of the child who died while held by his abductors.
“Children who went in search of knowledge were abducted at their school – which is supposed to be a safe place for them – while exercising their fundamental right to an education,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF representative in Nigeria.
He noted the minors spent 88 days in the hands of their abductors before being freed this past weekend.
“It is a tragedy and utterly unacceptable that one of these children died in captivity.”
An estimated 200 Nigerian students are believed to still being held after school abductions that have plagued the West African country since December 2020.
More than 1 000 have been abducted in these attacks from then to date.
The release of the Tegina students comes in the run-up to the International Day to Protect Education from Attack, on September 9.
Nigeria is set to host the Fourth International Conference on the Safe Schools Declaration on October 25-27.
– CAJ News