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Rights group tasks government on Damasak abduction

01 April 2016, 20:45Emeka Okonkwo

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 release.

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

 “The authorities 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

Tags hrw abduction

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