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Nigeria's President Calls Special Meeting to Address Violence

  • VOA News

A crowd gathers at the scene of a bomb blast at a bus terminal in Nyayan, Abuja, Nigeria, April 14, 2014.

A crowd gathers at the scene of a bomb blast at a bus terminal in Nyayan, Abuja, Nigeria, April 14, 2014.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has summoned his National Security Council to a Thursday meeting in Abuja, after suspected militants carried out a string of deadly attacks and abducted more than 100 school girls.

A presidential adviser said Jonathan will review security measures and operations with a view of "determining the best way forward."

In a Wednesday statement, adviser Reuben Abati said the president was particularly concerned about Monday's mass kidnapping of girls attending a secondary school in the northeastern Borno state region.

Abati said Jonathan has ordered security forces to "deploy maximum efforts" toward rescuing the girls.

Late Wednesday, Nigeria's Joint Information Center said only eight of the abducted students were still missing. In a statement, defense director Major General Chris Olukolade also said one of the "terrorists" who carried out the school attack had been captured.

There were no initial claims of responsibility, but the assault is similar to attacks that have been carried out by the Boko Haram Islamist militant group.

The incident took place on the same day a bomb ripped through a crowded bus station in Abuja, killing at least 75 people.

On Wednesday, The Associated Press reported that gunmen attacked a village in northeastern Nigeria's Gwoza district, killing at least 18 people.

The government of the Borno state region announced it was offering a reward of about $300,000 for information leading to the rescue of the abducted school girls.

In a VOA Hausa service interview, Nigerian Union of Teachers chairman Dauda Maina pleaded for the students' safe return and for the government to improve school security.

"We are very saddened and we totally condemn the abduction of those school children, and we are begging the government to help the people. Our advice is that security measures must be improved. All those schools needed to be fenced so that there will be an entrance and an exit into the school as opposed to how they are just open buildings in the middle of nowhere," said Maina.

Also, an unidentified parent in the region urged the kidnappers to free the girls. "We, the parents, are really shocked. Please, please, please have mercy. Be merciful and release those children."

The abductions also were condemned by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's office.
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