Nigerian Schoolboys Missing After Violent Ambush

On Friday, December 11, 2020, in the northwestern town of Kankara, Nigeria, a secondary school was attacked by gunmen. It is said that over 300 boys are currently missing, their whereabouts unknown. The attackers stormed into an all-boys school – the Government Science School – on motorcycles and were heavily armed. Security attempted to control the situation resulting in a fierce gun battle according to Aljazeera. Hundreds of boys fled the scene in an attempt to hide from the gunmen in the forest. Although many managed to escape, several are still missing and the families of the victims are worried about their well-being. On Sunday, December 13, parents and family members gathered at the school to encourage Nigerian authorities to locate the boys. The hashtag “BringBackOurBoys” is trending worldwide on social media, many learning about the situation in Nigeria and the initial 600 schoolboys that were missing according to Aljazeera.

Governor Aminu Masari of the Katsina region where the attack took place, spoke on Sunday in a meeting with security officials and stated 333 students are still missing. He stated that many boys have come out of hiding in the forest, whether they escaped from attackers or were initially hiding is unclear. According to Aljazeera, Murja Mohammed, the mother of one of the missing boys stated, “If it’s not the government that will help us, we have no power to rescue our children.” Defence Minister Major General Bashir Salihi-Magash met with the governor and stated that the military will attempt to rescue the students without any collateral damage.

Many questioned whether the group Boko Haram was responsible for this attack, though no one has come forward yet. According to Aljazeera, this attack is far from Boko Haram’s usual area of operation. This group is responsible for violent campaigns in northeastern Nigeria since 2009, attempting to impose Islamic law in the area. In 2018, the group kidnapped more than 100 girls in the Nigerian town of Dapchi. Ovigwe Eguegu, a geopolitical and security analyst spoke with Aljazeera and stated that it is likely the attackers are not members of Boko Haram.

Prior to this attack, many Nigerians expressed anger and dissatisfaction towards the security situation in Nigeria. According to Aljazeera, the violence and insecurity across Nigeria have enraged citizens, particularly after dozens of farmers were killed. Just last month, armed fighters killed and beheaded Nigerian farmers in the northeastern state of Borno. Many fear the random attacks that have taken place by criminal groups that are operating within northwestern regions in Nigeria. The reason for this recent attack is still unknown.

The school ambush is yet another violent group attack that has taken place in Nigeria. Over 300 boys have yet to be returned home safely, their whereabouts still unknown. It is up to the government to deal with the security concerns in the country and bring home the boys safely. The radical groups in the region are likely to continue their violent antics without interference from the military. These armed groups have been the cause of numerous violent attacks and have injured and killed numerous Nigerians. Many fear the situation will only escalate further without help from the government and military officials.