Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have strongly condemned the brutal slaying on Tuesday of dozens of students at a college in north-eastern Nigeria and voiced the hope that the perpetrators will be swiftly brought to justice.
According to UNICEF, some 45 children – between the ages of 13 and 17 – were killed in the attack by unidentified gunmen on the Federal Government College of Buni Yadi in Yobe state.
The region has been prone to attacks by Islamic militants who have in the past targeted civilians, including students and worshippers, politicians, members of Government institutions and foreign nationals.
“The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the increasing frequency and brutality of attacks against educational institutions in the north of the country,” his spokesperson said in a statement. “He reiterates that no objective can justify such violence.”
In addition to voicing its outrage at the attack, UNICEF expressed its deep concern about the repeated attacks on schools in the north-eastern region of Nigeria.
“Many young lives were lost. Many more students and teachers are deprived of their right to education. Attacks on children and schools are unacceptable under any circumstances,” the agency’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Manuel Fontaine, said in a statement.
Since June 2013, four attacks resulted in school closures affecting thousands of students, many of whom have had no access to formal learning for months.
“When a school is under attack and students become targets, not only their lives are shattered – the future of the nation is stolen,” said Mr. Fontaine.
UNICEF offered its deepest condolences to all the families and communities affected by these “senseless acts” and called for greater efforts to protect all children throughout Nigeria.