Kagara: Police say rescue operation ongoing as UN condemns students kidnap

Entrance to the government's school, where the attack took place

Nigeria said a joint search and rescue mission, involving the Police, the military and other law enforcement agencies is ongoing to safely rescue abducted persons in Niger.

The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Mr Frank Mba, announced this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.

It will be recalled that suspected bandits had, on Tuesday night, invaded Government Science School, Kagara in Niger and abducted some students.

Mba said the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mohammed Adamu, had ordered the deployment of additional tactical, intelligence and investigative assets of the force for the rescue operation.

According to him, four units of Police Mobile Force (PMF) attached to Operation Puff Adder II, one Unit of Police Special Forces, personnel of the Counter-Terrorism Unit (CTU) and operatives from the Force Intelligence Bureau have been deployed.

He said that personnel of the Force Criminal Investigations Department, as well as one Police aerial surveillance helicopter, had also been deployed.

According to him, the police component of the search and rescue operation was being coordinated by the Commissioner of Police in charge of Niger.

He said the commissioner was effectively harnessing all deployed resources and working in collaboration with the Military and other law enforcement agents.

The FPRO said the idea was to ensure an intelligence-driven, focused and result oriented ground and aerial surveillance in the rescue operations and bring the perpetrators to book.

Mba said the I-G called for calm and enjoined members of the community to provide the joint mission with information that could assist in the ongoing search and rescue operations.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres has strongly condemned Wednesday’s deadly attack by gunmen on the Government Science College, Kagara, Niger.

No fewer than 27 were kidnapped in the night raid on the boarding school, reports say.

According to the BBC, three members of staff and 12 of their relatives were also abducted by the assailants.

In a statement by his Spokesman, Guterres described attacks on schools and other educational facilities as “abhorrent and unacceptable.”

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He urged the Federal Government to “spare no efforts in rescuing those abducted and holding to account those responsible for this act.”

The UN chief expressed his “deepest condolences” to the bereaved and his sympathies to affected families.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) also reacted in a statement in which it condemned the attack “in the strongest possible terms”.

It called for the “immediate and unconditional release” of any children who might be missing and their safe return to their families.

UNICEF quoted its Nigeria Representative, Mr Peter Hawkins, as saying that attacks on schools were a violation of children’s rights.

“Children should feel safe at home and at school at all times.

“Parents should not need to worry for the safety of their children when they send them off to school in the morning,” Hawkins said, according to the statement.

He acknowledged efforts being taken by security agencies to rescue the missing children and safely return them to their families.