from AHMED OBAFEMI in Maiduguri, Nigeria
MAIDUGURI – THE whereabouts of the 112 schoolgirls kidnapped by the Boko Haram sect northwest of Nigeria remains unknown exactly five years since their abduction.
Children’s rights groups said the five-year anniversary of the Chibok school abduction is a reminder that schoolchildren remain vulnerable to attacks and abductions by the Islamist fighters in the besieged northeast region.
Hundreds of other children abducted from Damasak also in the region remain unaccounted for.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said lack of information on the whereabouts of the youngsters underscored the continued suffering of their families and the continued risk of new abductions.
The abduction of 276 schoolgirls from the government-owned Chibok Secondary School on April 14, 2014, caught the world’s attention and sparked a campaign for their release.
Some girls escaped while others were released following negotiations with Boko Haram.
Anietie Ewang, Nigeria researcher at HRW, said Boko Haram continued preying on women and girls despite claims by the Nigerian government that the military had defeated the group.
“The Nigerian authorities should make it a priority to protect vulnerable groups from harm by all sides in the northeast conflict,” Ewang stated.
Last year, Nigeria police announced the arrest of eight suspects allegedly involved in the Chibok school attack.
After a trial held behind closed doors, at least one defendant was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
– CAJ News