We’re relieved that Katsina school students have been released, says UNICEF

Following the release of the abducted students of the Government Boys Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State, the Nigeria office of the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has expressed relief over the situation.

A statement by UNICEF Nigeria Representative, Peter Hawkins, on the release said: “I am relieved to hear that about 344 children are reported to have been released last night and we look forward to their safe returns to their families.”

Peter Hawkins added that “If any are still being held, we call on the attackers to release all children immediately. Any other children still being held captive in Nigeria should also be released.”

He lamented that “for one week, parents were awake at night, crying and awaiting the return of their sons. My thoughts and solidarity are with these children, their families and the Kankara community – who have endured an unimaginable ordeal this past week.

“Attacks on educational facilities are a grave violation of children’s rights. This incident is a disturbing reminder of the heavy toll that violence takes on civilians in North-West Nigeria, including children.”

He stressed that interventions must be put in place to ensure that schools are safe and that all Nigerian children can learn without fear.

“These interventions should take into account the important role that communities can play in ensuring the safety of schools, including through support for school-based management committees (SBMCs),” he said.

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