Statement attributable to Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa
DAKAR, Senegal/NEW YORK/GENEVA, 16 April 2014 - UNICEF condemns in the strongest possible terms the reported abduction of some 100 school girls between 12 and 17 years old from their school hostel in Chibok Borno State on Monday night, and calls for their immediate and unconditional release.
UNICEF is deeply concerned about the persistent trend of attacks on schools in Nigeria. Most recently, unidentified gunmen killed 53 children between 13 and 17 years old at the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State, in February.
Such brutal acts of violence are unacceptable. Attacks on schools deny children their right to learn in a safe environment and can rob them of their future. Wherever it takes place, abduction of children is a crime and illegal under international law.
Monday night’s attack on the Chibok school took place hours after over 70 people were killed in a bomb attack at a bus station in the Nyanyan neighbourhood, close to the capital, Abuja.
UNICEF expresses its deepest solidarity to all the communities affected by these horrific acts, and stands with the families of the abducted children in these difficult times. The agency calls for greater efforts to protect all children throughout Nigeria.
The Nigerian government should urgently take steps to make sure that the children are returned to their families unharmed and that they can continue their education in a safe environment.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
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