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Nigerian Protesters Urge Government to Rescue Kidnapped Schoolgirls

  • VOA News

Esther Yakubu (C), the mother of the girl who introduced herself as Maina Yakubu in the recent Boko Haram video, attends a protest march in Abuja, Nigeria, Aug. 22, 2016.

Esther Yakubu (C), the mother of the girl who introduced herself as Maina Yakubu in the recent Boko Haram video, attends a protest march in Abuja, Nigeria, Aug. 22, 2016.

Hundreds of Nigerian protesters marched on Monday to the presidential villa in the capital, Abuja, to demand that the government do more to rescue more than 200 girls kidnapped in 2014.

The protest comes a week after Islamist militants from the group Boko Haram released a new video showing as many as 50 of the kidnapped girls. The militant group said several girls have died, and militants demanded a prisoner swap for the rest.

The mother of one of the abducted girls, Esther Yakubu, said the protesters are tired of having to petition the government to rescue the girls.

"Sadly, today we have been here again at the seat of power to drum up our pain to the president and his team that we are tired and are not ready to view any other video again from the abductors or from my girls," she said.

Yakubu is the mother of one of the girls shown in the militant video.

She told VOA last week that her daughter, Dorcas, was 15 years old in April 2014 when she was taken with nearly 300 other girls from a secondary school in the town of Chibok in northeastern Nigeria. She urged Nigeria's government to meet Boko Haram’s demand to release militants in exchange for Dorcas' freedom and that of her fellow abductees.

The 11-minute video, posted on YouTube last week, shows a masked man wearing military camouflage with dozens of weary looking young women wearing head scarves, sitting and standing behind him.

About 218 of the 276 girls kidnapped remain missing despite more than two years of efforts by the Nigerian government to find them, and worldwide outrage at their abduction.

Through last year, the Nigerian military announced the rescue of hundreds of people who had been kidnapped by Boko Haram, but despite occasional reports to the contrary, the Chibok girls were not among them.

For the parents of the missing Chibok girls, the new video brings mixed emotions of sadness and relief that some of the girls are still alive.

But the video ends with graphic images of bloody corpses. The masked man says the bodies are Chibok girls who were killed by Nigerian airstrikes. Nigerian officials say it is unlikely the bodies are the Chibok girls.

Boko Haram, which says it wants to create a strict Islamic state in Muslim majority northern Nigeria, is blamed for some 20,000 deaths since beginning its insurgency in 2009.

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