On Friday in Damishi, Nigeria, dozens of members of the Baptist community came out to comfort and support the families of the over 120 students kidnapped by a group of gunmen Monday from the Bethel Baptist High School in Kaduna.
This attack where armed men stormed the school — shooting sporadically as they kidnapped 121 students and leaving two security guards in the defensive struggle, makes it the fourth mass abduction in the state over the past six months.
Evangelist Linus Bonnet, the mother of 7-year-old Daniel who was abducted, is fed up with what she perceives as incompetence on the part of the Nigerian government.
“The government, they have the responsibility to protect us in this country, we have not seen any protection. Please, we want the government to do better. We want our children back.”
The desperation and outrage among parents in Damishi are not just because of what has happened to their children, but because of the security situation of the country and the lack of actions from the government, they said.
“The government has to wake up and take security issues serious”, said Reverend John Joseph Hayab, one of the founders of the school and director of the Christian Association Nigeria in Kaduna, whose son escaped from the bandits when they entered the school.
“It’s not only in Kaduna, all over the country people have been kidnapped, people have been killed. Today we have received reports of people 20, 30 killed. Is it only in this country that you kill 30 people, 20 people, 10 people and nobody feels pain as if anything has been done. In some countries, if one person dies, there will be trouble.”
The abductions are being carried out by armed groups demanding ransoms.
Many schools have been forced to close as authorities are unable to adequately protect them.
Since 2014 after the abduction by jihadi rebels Boko Haram of 276 female students from a government school in Chibok in northeastern Borno State, mass kidnappings of schoolchildren have become more common in northern Nigeria.
There have been seven incidents so far this year and nearly 1,000 students taken since December.