Abuja - The Nigerian government should take
urgent steps to secure the release of about 400 women and children abducted by
Boko Haram from Damasak in Borno State a year ago.
Victims include at least 300 elementary school students,
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has made the appeal, saying it
was unclear whether the government had made any serious effort to secure their
Damasak is said to be largest documented school abduction
by Boko Haram militants. Yet it has drawn far less public attention than the
group’s widely condemned abduction of 276 school girls from a government
secondary school in Chibok in April 2014.
Some 57 of those girls managed to escape, 219 remain
captive almost two years later.
“Three hundred children have been missing for a year, and
yet there has been not a word from the Nigerian government,” Mausi Segun,
Nigeria researcher at HRW, said in Abuja.
Also read: B'Haram seized 300 children in second 2014 school attack - HRW
need to wake up and find out where the Damasak children and other captives are
and take urgent steps to free them.”
Segun said the Nigerian government has an obligation
under domestic law as well as under international human rights law to take
measures to protect its citizens from Boko Haram’s serious human rights abuses.
The The government has a corresponding responsibility to
take effective steps to secure the release of the people Boko Haram has
abducted from Damasak.
Boko Haram has committed widespread abuses during its
six-year conflict with the Nigerian government. Its forces have
indiscriminately killed civilians, abducted hundreds of women and girls, and
destroyed villages and towns, as well as more than 900 schools.
Whatever its grievances against the Nigerian government,
Boko Haram cannot justify the abduction of young children, Segun said.
“Boko Haram leaders should immediately release
everyone the group has abducted, cease all attacks on civilians, and stop using
schools in support of its military efforts.”
- CAJ News