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Nigeria Offers Reward for Info on Abducted Girls

  • VOA News

A woman attends a demonstration calling on the government to rescue the kidnapped Chibok school girls, outside the defense headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria, May 6, 2014.

A woman attends a demonstration calling on the government to rescue the kidnapped Chibok school girls, outside the defense headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria, May 6, 2014.

Nigerian police offered a $300,000 reward on Wednesday to anyone who can give credible information leading to the rescue of the nearly 300 schoolgirls abducted by Islamist rebels.

Police listed six phone numbers in their statement and urged Nigerians to "be part of the solution to the present security challenge" and call in with "credible information.”

Last month's mass kidnapping by the militant group Boko Haram in the remote northeastern village of Chibok triggered an international outcry and protests in Nigeria, piling pressure on the government to rescue the girls.

Three weeks ago, Boko Haram abducted more than 300 schoolgirls from their dormitory in Chibok in Borno state in northern Nigeria. Some have escaped, but the kidnappers hold more than 270 girls.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has threatened in a video to sell the girls “on the market.”

Public anger mounted after locals on Tuesday said another eight girls had been seized from the same remote northeastern area by suspected members of the group, which is seeking to carve out an Islamist state.

The Nigerian government has been widely criticized for not doing enough to find and rescue the girls.

Other countries offer aid

The U.S. military has no plans to carry out a rescue mission for the schoolgirls but is sending personnel to Nigeria to "advise and assess," a Pentagon spokesman said on Wednesday.

President Barack Obama's administration has announced plans to establish a "coordination cell" of experts in Nigeria to bolster efforts to find the girls, who Boko Haram has threatened to sell into slavery.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan welcomed the U.S. offer to send an American team to Nigeria to support the government's efforts to find the girls.

The degree of U.S. assistance is still being defined but the Pentagon said that the cell at the U.S. embassy in Abuja would include fewer than 10 military personnel.

France also said it was boosting intelligence ties with Nigeria and sending security service agents there to tackle Boko Haram. Around 10 experts from the external DGSE intelligence service with satellite surveillance knowledge would first be sent to join United States and British teams, official sources said.

The kidnappings, and other attacks by Boko Haram, have overshadowed Nigeria's hosting of the World Economic Forum, which is due to start later Wednesday. Nigerian officials had hoped the event would draw attention to the potential of Africa's biggest economy as an investment destination.

International aid welcomed

Dandalin VOA reported that one father of a missing girl said the families are happy now that countries such as the U.S. are helping in the search for their daughters.

He described how the abductions unfolded and how some of the families had to take matters into their own hands in searching for the schoolgirls.

Media reports said several parents had taken motorcycles into the Sambisa forest, a known Boko Haram hideout near the school where it is believed the girls were taken.

At first, the father said he was so distraught by the abduction, he couldn't eat for a week. He was hospitalized several times in the past three weeks while his wife is still unable to perform her normal chores.

He said the 30 or so military personnel stationed in Chibok at the time of the abductions put up a fight, but there were too many well-armed extremists.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.
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