The Grand Imam of Egypt's Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayyeb called on Sunday for the release of more than 300 school girls who were abducted by gunmen in Nigeria on Friday, describing the attack on their school as "barbaric."
“On behalf of the teachers and scholars of Al-Azhar and myself, we join international calls for the release of the schoolgirls kidnapped as part of a barbaric terror attack in northwest Nigeria,” El-Tayyeb said in a statement.
On Friday morning, gunmen attacked a government girls science secondary school in the town of Jangebe in the northwestern state of Zamfara, abducting 317 students.
Nigerian police and army are still conducting search operations for the kidnapped girls .
“I pray to Almighty Allah for their release and safe return to their families,” El-Tayyeb added.
Pope Francis had also condemned the incident as “vile” and invited everyone to pray for the schoolgirls’ safe return.
The incident came a day before 38 people kidnapped two weeks ago from the Government Science College Kagara school in Nigeria's Niger state were freed. The abductees included students, staff and relatives.