News / Africa

Nigeria Protest Marks One Month Since Kidnapping

People walk in the rain during a protest for the release of secondary school girls abducted in the remote village of Chibok, along a road in Lagos, May 14, 2014.
People walk in the rain during a protest for the release of secondary school girls abducted in the remote village of Chibok, along a road in Lagos, May 14, 2014.
VOA News
Protesters in Lagos, Nigeria's most populous city, braved heavy rain Wednesday to march in recognition of the one-month anniversary of the mass kidnapping in the country's north.

Protesters chanted and called on security forces to intensify their search for the girls, who were kidnapped from their school in the northeastern part of the county by Boko Haram militants on April 14.

Women and human rights activists comprised a large segment of the protesters who also expressed concerns about security.

"It's about protecting the whole country. These girls are a symbol of that," gender activist Habiba Balogun explained, adding that "we are putting our foot down and saying enough is enough."

Open to negotiations

Special Duties Minister Taminu Turaki restated the Nigerian government's position that it was open to negotiations on ending Boko Haram's increasingly bloody five-year insurgency.

Turaki, who last year headed a committee tasked with pursuing an amnesty pact with some of the group's fighters, told French news agency AFP: "Nigeria has always been willing to dialogue with the insurgents.

"We are willing to carry that dialogue on any issue, including the girls kidnapped in Chibok, because certainly we are not going to say that [the abduction] is not an issue,” he said.

Nigeria's interior minister had previously dismissed a suggestion from Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in a video released on Monday that the girls could be swapped for imprisoned militants. But the military later said it would "explore all options" to end the crisis.

Residents form vigilante group

Some residents in Kalabalge, a northeastern Nigerian village in Borno state, said they killed and arrested scores of suspected Boko Haram militants they believed had planned to launch an attack.

The residents said they had formed a vigilante group to foil attacks by Boko Haram amid accusations the Nigerian military is not doing enough to stem attacks.

The killings happened Tuesday.  A security official confirmed the incident, saying the villagers ambushed two trucks in which several gunmen traveled.

Nigerian Christian's harrowing story

Deborah Peters, 15, who used to live in Chibok, Nigeria, on Tuesday recounted the day Boko Haram allegedly killed her father, a Christian pastor, and brother.
 
Chibok, in Borno state, is the same village where Boko Haram abducted nearly 300 girls from a boarding school on April 14.
 
Peters claims three men from the militant group came to her home in December 2011 and killed her father for being a pastor. She said the gunmen then shot her brother because he could become a pastor one day, too.

She now lives in the U.S. and goes to school in Virginia.

 
In this photo taken from video by Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorist network, Monday May 12, 2014 shows the alleged missing girls abducted from the northeastern town of Chibok. The new video purports to show dozens of abducted schoolgirls, covered in jihab
Girls in video identified

Borno state Gov. Kashim Shettima confirmed that all of the girls shown in the latest video released by the militant Islamist group had been identified as students at the school attacked in Chibok last month.

The  video reportedly shows about 130 of the missing girls, in an undisclosed rural location, wearing Muslim dress and praying. Boko Haram leader Abubakr Shekau said they had all converted to Islam.

A special viewing of the footage was organized for the missing girls' parents.

"All the girls in that video were identified to be students of the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok," Shettima said in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Tsambido Hosea, the leader of the Chibok community in Abuja, said the video had stirred up conflicting emotions back home.

"I called Chibok and spoke with some of them [the parents]," he said at a protest march. "Some are saying they are happy because they have seen their daughters. Some have their grief increased. So, there is a mixed reaction."

State of emergency extension

President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday requested a six-month extension to the state of emergency declared in Borno and two neighboring states a year ago because of the "daunting" security situation.

Jonathan's request for a six-month extension of the state of emergency in the northeast requires the approval of both chambers of Nigeria's parliament.

The request comes almost a year to the day after the state of emergency was first imposed and nearly six months after an initial extension.

But with more than 1,500 people killed so far this year and no let-up in the violence, the wisdom of an extension was immediately called into question.

The government in northern Yobe state swiftly rejected any extension of the state of emergency, slamming it as an "apparent failure" over the past year.

Shehu Sani, an expert on Boko Haram and violence in northern Nigeria, said it was a "futile" exercise and the government should instead seek a negotiated settlement with Boko Haram.

France denounces 'mass rape' of girls
 
A woman holds her baby and a poster reading A woman holds her baby and a poster reading "Bring Back our Girls" during a rally to support the release of the kidnapped Nigerian girls at the Trocadero, in front of the Eiffel Tower, in Paris on May 13, 2014.
x
A woman holds her baby and a poster reading
A woman holds her baby and a poster reading "Bring Back our Girls" during a rally to support the release of the kidnapped Nigerian girls at the Trocadero, in front of the Eiffel Tower, in Paris on May 13, 2014.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius denounced what he called the "mass rape" of the missing Nigerian schoolgirls.

These girls "have been the kidnapped and then enslaved, and it's a mass rape that must be prosecuted and punished as such," Fabius said during a visit to Washington.

France will host a summit on Saturday focusing on the threat posed by Boko Haram and has invited leaders from at least five African countries, including Nigeria.

Meanwhile the United Nations' top expert on worldwide human trafficking called for the negotiated release of the schoolgirls, amid worries they might be sold off.

"The elements of trafficking are there," said Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, the U.N. Human Rights Council's special rapporteur on the issue, in a conference call with U.S.-based foreign journalists.

"We cannot do politics with the lives of these young girls," said Ezeilo, who is from Nigeria.

Foreign assistance

U.S., British, French and Israeli specialists have been sent to Abuja to provide assistance to Nigeria. China has also offered help.

A U.S. defense official said General David Rodriguez, the head of U.S. Africa Command, was also in the capital "discussing U.S. assistance for the search as well as overall cooperation."

Rodriguez's visit came after Washington confirmed the U.S. was flying manned aircraft over Nigeria and sharing commercial satellite imagery to help with the hunt for the kidnapped girls.

Britain said it was sending its Foreign Office minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds, to Abuja on Wednesday to discuss what further help is required.

One of Britain's military specialists on the ground, Brigadier Ivan Jones, said there was close co-operation with the Nigerians but warned the search was difficult.

"No one should underestimate the scale and complexity of this incident and environment," he said in a statement.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

You May Like

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs