#BringBackOurBoys, a hashtag being used on social media networks by Nigerians after yet another Boko Haram attack on a school in Nigeria. A clear allusion to the international campaign “Bring Back Our Girls” used after the kidnapping of 276 children from a boarding school in Chibok, northeast Nigeria by Boko Haram in 2014.
The notorious Nigerian armed group has come forth claiming responsibility for the kidnapping of more than 300 students from a secondary school attacked last Friday in Katsina state, northwest Nigeria. The abduction of the pupils from the Government Secondary School of Science, a boys’ school in Kankara city, Katsina state, is the group’s first major operation in northwest as it has mostly restricted its operations to the northeast of the country in the past.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said in an audio message, “We are behind what happened in Katsina. What happened in Katsina was done to promote Islam and discourage non-Islamic practices, as Western education is not the kind of education allowed by Allah and His Holy Prophet.”
In the past, insecurity in the northwest was often limited to ambushes of security agents and small-scale kidnappings for ransom.
Last Friday night’s attack at the school which housed 839 students was the first of its kind and according to state authorities, a total of 333 students are still missing.
Authorities initially attributed the event to armed bandits, who often operate in Katsina and other northwestern states. Katsina Governor Aminu Bello Masari then met with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in Daura City, Katsina State, yesterday, to discuss the incident.
The governor issued an official note on Monday which stated that the kidnappers had established contact and they were already discussing the security of the hostages as well as their safe return to their homes, but the note did not specify who the perpetrators were, stressing a “constant progress” to rescue them “unharmed.
However, Boko Haram’s audio claiming responsibility of the attack, gives the impression that no demands have been made neither have any conditions been set for the release of the students.
Parents of the missing students have asked authorities to intensify efforts to ensure that their children are rescued as soon as possible.