How Jonathan govt covered abduction of 300 children in Damasak - Report
The abduction took place after Boko Haram seized Damasak town in November 2014 but received little attention as residents claimed they were silenced by the government.
According to an investigation by Human Rights Watch (HRW), the abduction took place after Boko Haram seized Damasak town in November 2014 but received little attention as residents claimed they were silenced by the Nigerian government.
The most notable mass kidnapping by the militant group was the 276 schoolgirls kidnapped from their dormitories in Chibok, Borno state, in April 2014.
HRW reveals that Boko Haram occupied Zanna Mobarti Primary School in Damasak in November 2014 after taking control of the town - with more than 300 students inside. And over the following months, the terrorists banned teaching in English and forced their captives to learn the Koran.
Boko Haram fled Damasak in March 2015 when soldiers from neighboring Chad and Niger invaded the town, taking with them the 300 schoolchildren and around 100 more women.
A resident of Damasak who spoke to AFP said none of the kidnapped schoolchildren have been returned, adding that they did not speak out due to pressure from the government, which was embarrassed with the abduction of the Chibok girls.
However, in March 2015, former president Goodluck Jonathan's government denied reports of the Damasak kidnapping.
“The authorities need to wake up and find out where the Damasak children and other captives are and take urgent steps to free them,” a Nigerian researcher at HRW, Mausi Segun, said.
Boko Haram, which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in 2015, has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions in a six-year insurgency in northeast Nigeria. More than 1 million children have been forced out of education and more than 2,000 schools have closed in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger due to the militant group’s campaign of violence, UNICEF said in December 2015.
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