Boko Haram abducted at least 300 elementary schoolchildren in an unreported kidnapping in the town of Damasak in northeast Nigeria, an investigation by Human Rights Watch (HRW) claims.
The Nigerian militant group is infamous for abducting and indoctrinating young people and children, most notably the 276 schoolgirls kidnapped from their dormitories in Chibok , Borno state in northeast Nigeria in April 2014. But despite eclipsing the Chibok kidnapping in terms of scale, the abductions in Damasak—which took place after Boko Haram seized the town in November 2014—have received little attention as residents claimed they were silenced by the Nigerian government.
November 2014 after taking control of the town. More than 300 students were inside and, over the following months, the militants banned teaching in English and forced their captives to learn the Koran. When soldiers from neighboring Chad and Niger advanced on Damasak in March 2014, Boko Haram militants fled the town, taking with them the 300 schoolchildren and around 100 more women and children who were also being held captive.
Damasak residents interviewed by AFP claimed that none of the kidnapped schoolchildren had been returned and said they had not spoken out on the issue due to pressure from the government, which was already struggling to manage the embarrassment of losing the Chibok girls. The administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan denied reports of the Damasak kidnapping in March 2015.