News / Africa

Anger Simmers Over N. Nigerian Abductions

These four female students of government secondary school were abducted by gunmen, then escaped their captors and reunited with their families, in Chibok, Nigeria, April, 21, 2014.
These four female students of government secondary school were abducted by gunmen, then escaped their captors and reunited with their families, in Chibok, Nigeria, April, 21, 2014.
Heather Murdock
More than a week after some 230 teenage girls were kidnapped from their schoolhouse in a remote region of northern Nigeria, frustration is mounting.

While dozens of the abductees managed to escape, fleeing to safety through the bush, authorities say at least 190 are believed to remain captive deep within the Sambisa Forest, where Boko Haram Islamist militants are known to hide out.

While no one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, it's widely believed the extremist group is holding the girls as spies, servants or sex slaves.

As Nigerian governors met with President Goodluck Jonathan to address the country's growing security crisis, female leaders spoke out, blaming central government officials for failing to rescue the girls.

Dressed in black to show solidarity with grieving families, Aishatu Ngulde, a northern human rights activist, called the federal government's failure to locate the girls tantamount to complicity in the crime.

"Are you telling me that Borno state [forest] is so thick that no plane can see the ground?" she said. "Why is that not being done in Borno? Our children, they have been taken. We are all mothers. If it is Jonathan's daughter that has been stolen today, would the country sleep? It would not."

Officials say security forces are using all means at their disposal to rescue the girls. Yan St-Pierre, the CEO of Berlin-based security-consulting firm MOSECON, says if the Nigerian military launched a direct assault in the forest to rescue the girls, they might kill more girls than they save.

"The forests there are really dense, and geography and all the elements that really make it hard to prepare a proper operation the way the Nigerian Army wants to conduct it," he said. "So a full-scale attack that would make them look good and show strength is simply not feasible. You would end up with many, many more civilian casualties than you would Boko Haram fighters."

The Nigerian military has been silent in recent days, after retracting an initial report that most of the girls had been freed.

St. Pierre says although a rescue would go a long way to improve the image of the Nigerian security forces, it would require negotiations accompanied by precision operations.

"For the girls right now, it's finding the proper back-channels that would allow for negotiations, that would allow the girls to be freed," he said. "They would then save face."

Nigeria has been mired in the Boko Haram insurgency for almost five years and three northeastern states have been under emergency rule for almost a year.

Boko Haram has been blamed for thousands of deaths in attacks on churches, mosques, schools, market places, government facilities, and most recently a bus station bombing in the capital that killed 75 people.  

Things are getting worse, with rights groups recently reporting that 1,500 people were killed in the first three months of 2014 alone, and that some weeks see daily reports of attacks, though many go unreported.

Despite the chaos, Gambo Mamman Gusau, another leading northern human rights activist, says the girls will not be forgotten. 

"Let them release the pure children, poor children," she said. "If they're not going to release them, we women of Nigeria are going to gather ourselves and march."

Besides air support and resources, female activists in Maiduguri called on Boko Haram militants to negotiate with the government, promising the militants "motherly support towards rehabilitating them when the need arises."

- Abdulkareem Haruna contributed to the report from Maiduguri. Ibrahima Yakuba contributed from Kaduna.

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bello Bichi from: Colorado Springs CO 80918
April 25, 2014 12:28 AM
‘Dressed in black to show solidarity with grieving families” is not enough at this time, simply because the federal government of Nigeria is not really serious about rescuing the girls in question for the following reasons (a) they are the children’s of the common people and why should the government care about them, (b) the Nigeria security are delaying the rescue process because it’s another technique for them to get for money from the federal and state governments, and also from the parents of the victims (girls).
Just of recent the Zimbabwean prime-minister Mr. Robert Mugabe in a national media stated that Zimbabwe is “now like Nigeria where you have to reach into your pocket to get anything done" and do not forget the comment made by the Borno State Governor, Mr. Kashim Shettima that “Boko Haram insurgents were better armed and motivated than Nigerian troops” although I don’t think the insurgents are better armed than the Nigerian military, but I confidently believe that the insurgents are better motivated than the Nigerian military, this is really true considering how retired military and police personnel get their gratuity and monthly pension after retirement. The insurgents knew that if they died on their course, the family they left behind would be taken care up properly and they are fighting for a course they believed in, unlike a Nigerian soldier or policeman who knew how difficult it would be for him/her to get his benefits after serving the country and what of when he/she is died. In some instances I don’t blame the police or the military for refusing to give their best for their country because they knew their gratuity might not get to what they might left behind if they die on duty serving their nation, because we are living witness of how few individuals squander and defraud the Police Pension to the tune of N32.8 Billion naira (Thirty Two Billion, Eight Hundred Million Naira) and yet could not be prosecuted simply because they belongs to the treasury looters class and they have the backing of those in government.
What we need to is to come out as people and challenge our leaders openly. We have to think on how to depend ourselves; we should not really on a weak government to protect us and our properties. We have to demonstrate to show the government our grievances; we should not be weak like our government. Although the government has weaken us financially, economically and morally to a position that we cannot even use our votes legitimately as electorates. But still we need to act squarely.

by: michael from: nigeria
April 24, 2014 1:06 PM
Heaven help those that help themselves if there is no employement why dont you youth of nigerian create one for yourself? Am a Nigerian i am self employed with many apprentise that have been self reliant and many more still learning the skill of handset repiaring : illiterate

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs