More than 300 students’ whereabouts are still yet to be established after a Friday night attack by gunmen. Authorities say that the attackers, on motorcycles, stormed the all-boys Government Science School in Nigeria’s northwestern Katsina state.
A gun battle between the gunmen and security forces ensued, compelling hundreds of students to flee to the nearby forest.
On Sunday, Katsina Governor, Amina Masari, said they are yet to account for 333 students. The number is close to half the boarding school’s composition, which is 839 pupils.
Also, Masari says students have been gradually emerging from their forest hideouts. He added that they are trying to establish the actual number of students kidnapped.
On Sunday, the hashtag #BringBackOurBoys was trending on Nigeria’s social media platforms. The hashtag is more or similar to the 2014 #BringBackOurGirls, which came after the abduction of 276 school girls by Boko Haram.
This time around, #BringBackOurBoys is a public outcry to the Nigerian government to respond to recent happenings swiftly. Nigerians on Twitter commented about the alarming insecurity in Nigeria. Moreover, they questioned how President Muhammadu Buhari had handled the situation. Again, they have asked the head of state, who is currently in Katsina state, to show empathy by visiting the attacked school.
One of the tweets read, “Just recent 110 farmers were slaughtered, and today 600 #KankaraStudents abducted all on your watch. @MBuhari if you can’t stop these killings and kidnappings, kindly #BuhariResign or just send an airstrike and finish us (the north) once and for all. #BringBackOurBoys.”
Kidnappings have become a common occurrence in most parts of Nigeria. Nevertheless, insecurity and killings are on the rise in the West African state.
Despite the ongoing Boko Haram uprising in the northeast, bandits are also attacking North-west and North-central communities, killing and kidnapping residents at will.
Late last month, about 110 farmers were killed by armed fighters, beheading some of them, in northeastern Borno state.
Who are the attackers?
Boko Haram is yet to claim the recent attack on the government school.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Ovigwe Eguegu, Afripolitika’s geopolitical and security analyst, says it is unlikely that the masterminds of the attack are Boko Haram. He went on to add that northwestern Nigeria is prone to bandit attacks, people who don’t have any policy to impose or any intention against the state.
Ovigwe termed these bandits as “criminal elements operating freely in Northwestern Nigeria.”
President Buhari has ordered an audit on the number of unaccounted for students. He added that security agencies are confronting the insurgents to ensure freedom for all those kidnapped.
Masari acknowledged the unfortunate events and has assured parents that they will do anything humanly possible to rescue the students. He also urged parents to exercise patience. As a safety measure, Masari further ordered the closure of all schools.
Many are concerned about what will happen to the students. Parents in particular, are agonized by the occurrence since they cannot locate their children. There is escalating concern by Nigerians about their country’s security situation.