Nigeria

Statement by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict on the attack against Bursari Government Girls Science Secondary School in northeast Nigeria

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New York – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, calls for the unconditional release of all the girls abducted during the attack on the Bursari Government Girls Science Secondary School, in northeast Nigeria.

On Monday, February 19, an armed group attacked the school located in Dapchi, Yobe State and over 90 girls are still missing, according to unconfirmed reports.

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms this new attack on education in Nigeria,” declared Virginia Gamba. “Today, my thoughts are with the families of the missing girls and with their communities. We are working to create a world where all children, and especially girls, can go to school knowing that they will not become victims of appalling violence.”

The Special Representative expresses her support to the Government of Nigeria and urges them to continue to do their utmost to find the missing girls as soon as possible and help reunite them with their families.

Attacks on schools continue to be documented regularly by the United Nations in northeast Nigeria and it is estimated that almost 1,400 of these institutions have been destroyed since the beginning of the insurgency in 2009.

"Overwhelmingly, attacks focus on the abduction, forcible recruitment and use, killing and maiming as well as sexual abuse of innocent Nigerian girls whose only crime is to be female and to dream of an education. These abhorrent crimes must stop now. I call on all those with the means to engage to stop these violations and return our girls unharmed,” concluded Special Representative Gamba.

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For additional information, please contact:

Stephanie Tremblay, Communications Officer, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, +1-212-963-8285 (office), +1-917-288 5791 (mobile), tremblay@un.org