News / Africa

With 219 Girls Missing, Nigeria Kidnapping Inquiry Concludes

Some of the escaped kidnapped girls of the government secondary school Chibok, attend a meeting with Borno state governor, Kashim Shettima, in Maiduguri, Nigeria, June 2, 2014.
Some of the escaped kidnapped girls of the government secondary school Chibok, attend a meeting with Borno state governor, Kashim Shettima, in Maiduguri, Nigeria, June 2, 2014.
VOA News
Nigerian officials say 219 girls remain unaccounted for after being kidnapped by Boko Haram militants in April.

The latest figures on the number of missing girls come from a final report released by a government fact-finding committee appointed by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Submitting the final report, Brigadier General Ibrahim said Friday that the militants initially took 276 girls, but 57 escaped — either as the trucks drove away or soon after.

Sabo said his committee members met with resistance when they visited Chibok last month to talk to some of the escaped girls. The militants raided a secondary school in Chibok village and forced the students onto trucks.

"The four girls were hesitant to discuss full details of their experience, citing fears of possible reprisal from the Boko Haram elements," he said. "In fact, parents of the other girls who escaped were hidden from public glare, also because of fear of reprisals."

Speaking at the Nigerian State House in Abuja Friday, Jonathan renewed vows to find the girls and crush Boko Haram.

He also said his government is looking at social and economic factors that may be driving the insurgency.
"So government is not only making efforts at military or security operations alone," he said. "We are looking at various economic issues to improve the welfare of citizens."

Many Nigerians have criticized the government for failing to rescue the girls or put a stop to the five-year insurgency by Boko Haram, which says it is trying to establish an Islamic state in northern Nigeria. The group has killed thousands of people in attacks on schools, markets, churches, mosques and other public places.

The Chibok kidnapping and other increasingly bloody attacks by Boko Haram have underscored Abuja's inability to stamp out the militant group, which aims to carve out a radical Islamist state in the mostly Muslim north.

In what could raise the ire of Jonathan's critics, Sabo recommended the findings of the fact-finding group appointed by the president remain confidential for national security reasons.

Sabo also seemed to try to deflect expected criticism from the government.

"For the Chibok schoolgirls, little will be achieved through finger-pointing,'' he said in his statement. "Getting the girls out, and safely, too, is by far more important than the publicity generated by the blame game that has tended to becloud the issue.''

Last month, the U.S. sent military and intelligence personnel to Nigeria to help the government locate and rescue the missing girls. U.S. drones based in neighboring Chad have flown surveillance flights over the search area.

Material from Reuters was used in this report.

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Comment Sorting
by: Joyce Ray from: virginia usa
June 26, 2014 12:16 PM
No one has said anything about these girls being Christian! From a Christian school! Given up by their country to slave trade, lives of brutal service and rape! We Christian continue to pray for all who live under terror everyday.

by: Temwani from: zambia
June 23, 2014 2:39 PM
da government of Nigeria gave boka raamu his people ad he will free those skul girl,because those skul girls ar missing classes,it's paining me a lot mwandi

by: Margo Mason from: United States
June 22, 2014 12:30 AM
This is unacceptable! Boko Haram must be conquered as terrorists by all countries' efforts. The Nigerian schoolgirls must be rescued. This is a world problem, not a Nigerian problem problem. Would responses be different if the kidnapped children were male? White? #BringBackOurGirls

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
June 21, 2014 2:49 PM
Two ways to deceive the public in this country are, one, to cite security reasons to keep reports secret - which is leadership's way of accepting defeat in the country - after all this will not be an exception, no report has ever been made public in the country nor was any ever used to solve any problem.Two, the president will make promises he is not willing to fulfill believing that Nigerians are gullible and would be swayed by empty promises. For a president who is unable to command respect among the rank and file, who does he think he's deceiving vowing once again to fight boko haram and bring back the girls when he took more than a month to visit their grieving parents in their agony? I do not think Nigerians still believe him, except maybe people from his kitchen plus E.K Clarke and MEND - a militant group that can pass for a terrorist group. Whatever he says, Nigerians are asking for an immediate stop of boko haram activities in the country. Jonathan and his cohorts should stop making the world feel that boko haram is stronger than the Nigerian security services. He should send his army against boko haram and rescue the girls held now for more than two months. Jonathan should stop politicizing the insurgency. If he refuses to address the problem from its root of allowing sharia states in the country alongside the Nigerian constitution; if he fails to understand that boko haram emerged after the sharia states failed to actualize the destabilization factor they had wished for the country using the separate rule of law, then let the president stop wasting the country's resources sitting at Aso Rock for another day. But if he does know his onus, then Nigeria should run one constitution to start with, a proper state of emergency be declared where necessary, and corrupt officers and men not only shown the way out of the armed forces, but also detained until the insurgency is quelled. At the end of the day, these guys are funded by Nigerians and have used Nigerian facilities to hostage Nigerians in Nigeria. Jonathan should wake up and work, that's why he is the president. Only 1000 troops from Cameroon did what the whole of Nigerian army could not do in years, what a shame!

by: umaru ukpo from: maryland
June 21, 2014 10:21 AM
Boko Haram is supposedly fighting to end western education in that part of the world. While they went into Chibok they left a high price target behind-Atiku's American University which is also in the heart land of Boko Haram . something doesn't smell right.

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