Nigeria: UN Human Rights Chief appalled by recent mass abductions

Geneva,  16 March, 2024.- UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk today expressed outrage at the recent abductions by gunmen of hundreds of people in Nigeria.

“I am appalled by the recurrent mass abductions of men, women and children in northern Nigeria. Children have been abducted from schools and women taken while searching for firewood. Such horrors must not become normalised,” said Türk.

“I acknowledge the Nigerian authorities’ announcement that they are taking action to safely locate the missing children and reunite them with their families. I urge them to also ensure prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into the abductions, and to bring those responsible to justice.”

Reports suggest that at least 564 people have been abducted since 7 March. Of these, more than 280 pupils were abducted on 7 March from a school in Kuriga town, Kaduna State. At least 200 others, mostly internally displaced women and children, were abducted the same day in Gamboru Ngala, Borno State, while reportedly searching for firewood. Two days later, gunmen stormed a boarding school in Gidan Bakuso village, Sokoto State, and abducted at least 15 pupils. And on 12 March, about 69 people were abducted in two raids on a village in the Kajuru area of Kaduna State.

“No-one should have to live under fear of abduction, as many people in parts of northern Nigeria undoubtedly are. The armed actors perpetrating these attacks must be identified and brought to account – in compliance with international human rights law – as a first step towards reining in the impunity that feeds these attacks and abductions,” the High Commissioner said.

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