Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of several hundred high school students in northwestern Nigeria, in an area far from their stronghold marking an important turning point in the expansion of the jihadist group.
At least 333 adolescents are still officially missing since the attack on their boarding school in Kankara in Katsina state (north-west), on the night of Friday to Saturday.
More than a hundred armed men on motorcycles attacked this rural public school and while some high school students managed to escape, others were caught up, separated into several groups and taken away by attackers, according to residents contacted.
The presidency said on Saturday that the army had located “the hideout of the bandits”, adding that a military operation was underway.
The security situation has greatly deteriorated in northern Nigeria since the election of Buhari in 2015, a Muslim from the north of the country, who had nevertheless made the fight against Boko Haram his priority.
Abubakar Shekau’s jihadist group has committed numerous atrocities in recent weeks. He claimed responsibility for the massacre of dozens of agricultural workers near Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, as well as the “barbaric” attack this weekend on a village near Diffa, in neighboring Niger, where at least 28 people were killed. were killed, most of them burned alive.
The 77-year-old Nigerian head of state announced he would speak to the National Assembly last week to explain himself about the creeping insecurity that is gripping the country, before backing down .
“The National Assembly has no constitutional power to lecture the president in his role as commander-in-chief of the armed forces,” its Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami had justified.
The jihadist conflict has left 36,000 dead, mainly in the north-east of the country, on the edges of Lake Chad, and more than two million people still cannot return to their homes.
It has spread to Chad, Cameroon and Niger, countries neighbouring the Lake Chad basin.