By Cecilia Ologunagba
UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, on Tuesday condemned abduction of some students of Bethel Baptist High School, Damishi, Chikun local government area of Kaduna in Nigeria.
Spokesperson for Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, Stephane Dujarric said this while briefing correspondents at the UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday.
According to the official of the school, gunmen abducted no fewer than 140 students from the boarding school on Monday.
The UN correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted Dujarric as saying that Guterres condemned the abduction of the students.
“I can tell you that the Secretary-General strongly condemns the abduction of students from the Bethel Baptist School as well as hospital employees in two separate incidents in Kaduna State on July 5.
“The secretary-general is disturbed by the frequency of “kidnapping for ransom” of predominantly children from schools by extremist groups and criminal networks,” Dujarric said.
According to him, Guterres underscores the need to bring perpetrators of the grave human rights violations to account and enhance the safety and security of schools and educational facilities.
Briefing on Mozambique, Dujarric said the World Food Programme (WFP) had warned that, without urgent funding, the displacement crisis in the north of Mozambique could become a hunger emergency.
He said displacement had left at least 730,000 people in Cabo Delgado with no access to their land and no means of earning a living.
“Close to 230,000 people are highly food insecure, according to the latest food security data, which was collected before the attacks in Palma.
“This number is projected to increase during the lean season, which begins in October; many of those who fled the violence in Palma are being hosted by locals.
“The added pressure on already scarce resources is impacting host communities struggling themselves with rising food prices and loss of income due to the pandemic,’’ he said.
According to UN data, in some districts, the host communities are as food insecure as those who are displaced, noting that in these situations and always, children are the most impacted.
“WFP is urgently appealing for 121 million dollars until the end of the year to support 750,000 people in the northern districts of Cabo Delgado,’’ he said.
On COVID-19 update, Dujarric said the number of cases had been climbing in recent weeks in Sierra Leone.
He said the UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Babatunde Ahonsi, was helping authorities on the health front, as well as the wider impacts of the pandemic.
“Our colleagues stress the importance of increasing vaccine coverage and continue to call for global solidarity to increase the vaccine supply.
“As of yesterday (Monday), 225,000 doses had been administered in Sierra Leone, a country of more than 7.8 million people.
“The UN team is concerned about the oxygen supply, as there is only one oxygen plant working in the country.’’
In addition, he said El Salvador received 1.5 million doses of vaccines through COVAX which had been donated by the United States; El Salvador has now received nearly two million doses from COVAX.
“It is one of 14 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean receiving vaccines donated by the United States through the COVAX facility,’’ the Spokesperson said. (NAN)