Statement on attack against Bursari Government Girls Science Secondary School in northeast Nigeria

Statement from Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Director

23 February 2018

DAKAR, 23 February 2018 – “On Monday, an armed group attacked the Bursari Government Girls Science Secondary School in Dapchi, Yobe state, northeast Nigeria. According to unconfirmed reports over 90 girls are still unaccounted for.

“UNICEF strongly condemns the attack and calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all the girls kept in captivity.

“UNICEF is deeply concerned about these brutal acts of violence. Attacks on schools are a violation of children’s rights and international humanitarian law. Schools should be safe spaces and protected at all times.

“No words can console a family sending a child to school and not seeing her return home. We stand with the families of the missing girls and the community affected by this horrifying incident.

“We have not forgotten the tragedy of the Chibok girls from four years ago, when 276 girls were abducted by Boko Haram militants. Still, large number of the girls have not returned. And now comes this new horror. This is not just an attack on a school. It is an attack on all of us.

“We acknowledge the efforts by the Government of Nigeria and count on their diligence to undertake all measures for the safe return of the missing Bursari girls.

“Since the start of the insurgency in 2009, over 2,295 teachers have been killed and 19,000 displaced, and almost 1,400 schools destroyed.”

Media contacts

Thierry Delvigne-Jean
Regional Chief of Communication
UNICEF West and Central Africa
Tel: +221 77 819 23 00
Tel: +221 33 831 08 62
Anne Isabelle Leclercq Balde
UNICEF West & Central Africa
Tel: + 221 77 740 69 14


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook