Abuja, Nigeria-A few days before gunmen attacked a middle school in Zamfara State in northwestern Nigeria and kidnapped hundreds of female students, school authorities and local security agencies were warned of dangers in the town, especially where the school is located. , According to local residents.
Last Friday, heavily armed militants seized at least 315 girls who were staying in the government girls’ middle school in Jangebe town. The militants arrived on a motorcycle at around 1:30 a.m. local time and took the kidnapped girls to the nearby forest, making the victims’ families distraught. Residents said that in the days before the kidnapping, “strange men”
“Suddenly, we saw strangers on the street [leading to the Government Girls’ Secondary School] Danlami Umar, who lives near the school, told The Daily Beast. “They are stopping passers-by and asking them for directions.”
These people had been living near the school two days before the incident, harassing pedestrians, and reminding residents to draw the police’s attention to their activities.
“Once we reported them, they disappeared from the area,” Umar said. “Then we told the police to strengthen security around the school, but that failed.”
But those living near the school are not the only ones expressing concerns about the security situation in the area. According to the “Daily Beast”, due to increasing reports of criminal activities in nearby areas, some family members have asked school authorities to close boarding rooms and allow these girls to attend classes as day students. Their plea fell on deaf ears.
“People complained that their gunmen attacked their homes at night, and their children were often harassed by these hooligans. Therefore, some parents asked the school to close the boarding room just in case these criminals decided to take a day trip. Jibril Abubakar’s niece went to school but was not among the missing.
“Unfortunately, some people in the school said that the authorities cannot close the dormitories on their own, claiming that they must first obtain approval from the state education department,” Abubakar added.
Abubakar said that concerns about the safety of their children forced some parents to prevent their children from returning to the dormitory and instead let them go to school as day students. This move may save more girls from being kidnapped on Friday.
Abubakar said: “Some parents have seen this situation and do the right thing by keeping their daughters away from the host family.” “If not, we will have more than 500 girls missing today.”
On Friday, no organization announced the kidnapping. After a similar attack on a public school in Niger State in the north-central part of Nigeria, 42 people, including 27 boys, were kidnapped for more than a week. The boys have not yet recovered.
Nearly 24 hours after the kidnapping of Jangebe female students, the joint operation of the police and the army has so far failed to determine their location. Zanfala State Police Chief Abutu Yaro (Abutu Yaro) said at a press conference later on Friday: “There is news that they have been moved to a nearby forest. We are following and proceeding with caution.”
The insecurity situation in parts of northwest and north-central Nigeria is getting worse, especially after the kidnapping of hundreds of boys in Katsina State last December, which forced the state governments of the two regions to close boarding schools in vulnerable areas. The Zamfara government waited until the kidnapping incident last Friday before taking similar actions. But for many people in the troubled town of Jangebe, this move is too late.
“If they act on time, these girls will be with their families and no one will beg the military to find their daughters,” Abubakar said. “The government’s indifferent attitude must stop.”