Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the Friday night attack that has left more than 300 students missing. The attack occurred at an all-boys Government Science Secondary School in Kankara town, Katsina state, northwest Nigeria.
On Tuesday, an audio message surfaced with one Abubakar Shekau, alleged Boko Haram leader, claiming that Boko Haram was behind the attack.
An accurate number of students missing is yet to be established. On Monday, General John Enenche, military spokesperson, told Channels TV that 333 students were still unaccounted.
Boko Haram, A thorn in the flesh
Boko Haram, in the Hausa language, translates to “Western education is forbidden.” Clearly, this explains the motive behind the group waging war on Nigeria’s schools.
Operating alongside its splinter wing- the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) – the Islamic group has for decades run a military campaign in northeast Nigeria and neighboring Niger, Chad, and Cameroon.
In 2014, Boko Haram sparked global anger by abducting hundreds of schoolgirls in Bichock, Nigeria.
Ahmed Idris, an Al Jazeera reporter in Nigeria, says that since Nigeria’s Islamic group took long to claim the abduction, the kidnapping might have been done by other people who later sold the pupils to the armed group.
The armed group’s recent claim is a clear indication that the group is slowly advancing to northwest Nigeria.
‘We Are Helpless’
Parents of the missing students have said they are helpless in rescuing their children unless the government acts fast.
Abdulwaziz Usman, the father of one of the missing boys, says he is not happy since it has been more than three days and he is yet to see his son.
Another parent, Murja Mohammed, says they [the parents] have no power to rescue their children.
On Monday, Aminu Bello Masari, the governor of Katsina state, said the abductors had contacted the government. He added that talks are underway to ensure the safe return of the pupils.
According to the Nigerian army, they had located the abductors’ hideout. Besides, a military operation was ongoing.
Following the abduction, northwest Nigeria has experienced its first massive kidnappings. Nigerians are concerned about the safety of the boys. As a call to action, Nigerians are using the #BringBackOurBoys to call for government action.
Many fear that the armed group may recruit the boys as militias.