News / Africa

Nigeria Retracts Statement About Kidnapped Girls

FILE- Brig. Gen. Chris Olukolade, Nigeria's top military spokesman in Abuja.
FILE- Brig. Gen. Chris Olukolade, Nigeria's top military spokesman in Abuja.
Anne Look
The Nigerian military has retracted its claim that nearly all of the more than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped this week by suspected Boko Haram militants had been released. Nearly a hundred are still believed to be missing.

The principal of the Government Girls secondary school in Chibok, Asabe Kwanbura, said that 32 of the kidnapped girls have escaped. That's up from a reported 20 girls on Thursday.

"Some jumped down [from] inside the lorry. Some escaped [from] within the camp," said Kwanbura.

The state education commissioner confirmed the figure, saying those 32 girls were safe and accounted for Friday.

A total of 129 girls are thought to have been at the school when armed men arrived early Tuesday to take them away in trucks. The girls were only there to sit for final exams as their school was among those closed in the northeast in March for security reasons.  

Defense Headquarters had released a statement Wednesday saying that all but eight of the kidnapped girls were free, something relatives of the girls and school authorities said was a lie. Most of the girls are still missing.

The defense ministry spokesman issued a correction late Thursday saying that his initial statement was based on faulty information and "was not intended to deceive."

But the fumble is a further blow to the military's credibility as it faces mounting criticism for its handling of the insurgency in the northeast.

Borno state education commissioner, Musa Inuwo Kubo, says in an interview with VOA that the false report of the girls' release has only heightened their parents' "impatience and apprehension."

"When you come to the town, you see all parents are in a mourning mood. Everybody is sad, sad in the sense that there was a glimpse of hope when it was announced that they've secured the release and up to now they cannot see the children," said Kubo.

Local vigilante groups and hunters have set out on what Defense Headquarters says is a "frantic" search for the girls in the dangerous forests near the Cameroonian border where the girls are believed to be held. The military is also looking.

No one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, though many are pointing to the militant Islamist sect, Boko Haram, which has attacked other schools in the northeast. The group has also reportedly been abducting girls and young women to serve as spies, cooks and servants.

Boko Haram has killed thousands in northern Nigeria since 2009. The group says it wants to impose a harsh form of Islamic law, which would include banning all forms of Western education.

The kidnapping was one of three attacks this week attributed to Boko Haram, including a bombing in the capital, Abuja.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Barr. George Otelemaba from: Port Harcourt.
April 21, 2014 12:40 AM
I feel very sad that till now the leadership of this country, with all her military and intelligence apparatus cannot locate and free these missing innocent school girls. Rather, local hunters and herdsmen are now used to find them. Its a shame. This is not proper. There is no intelligence report as to even the group that is holding these children, where and why, the military is going back and forth with unreliable statements and the political leaders are busy consolidating their grip on Power. I weep!

by: julius from: nigeria
April 20, 2014 5:00 AM
I want to use this medium to appeal to the United States government and the world powers to pls come to the aid of Nigeria and Nigerians as it is very obvious that the Nigerian leaders and the military has failed in this war. Pls am begging, let it not to result to greater loss of lives before coming to our aid. Pls take this serious.
In Response

by: Tangoguy from: Canada
April 20, 2014 3:01 PM
Unless oil is discovered in Nigeria, don't expect any help from the U.S.

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
April 18, 2014 10:53 PM
It's indisputably known fact that Boko Haram has successfully infiltrated Nigerian military police, security apparatus and three main branches of the federal government. The defense ministry's released false statement was deliberate and purposely served BH to give them sufficient protection from being caught with kidnapped girls.
The unfortunate girls will obviously be treated as sex slaves and suicide missions.
It's ironic that BH's sister organisation, Al-Shabaab, lost many ground and forced to hide into small pockets in the countryside while Boko Haram gained momentum by killing and bombing numerous innocent civilians, thanks to Nigerian government.

by: Not Again from: Canada
April 18, 2014 5:05 PM
Sad and horrendous situation for the missing girls, their parents, relatives and friends; beyond it, it reflects poorly on humanity. Unfortunately, and not just in Africa, we are observing an ever increasing number of conflicts, greater instability, greater number of massive grave human rights violations, and a struggle for security.
We are also observing an ever number of so called "leaders' that exist in an abstract environment, showing very little emphaty for their own people; and increasingly more inept or outright uncaring for their own failures. Essentially we are observing increasing numbers of unaccountable/ outright deceptive leaders, supported by self promoting elites.
This grave human rights situation will just continue to increase the level of global instability and conflict. In addition, it will continue to reduce the number of democracies on the planet. No good can come of an increase in the number of inept, unaccountable, and uncaring authoritarian regimes.

by: Muana Kasongo from: DRC
April 18, 2014 4:57 PM
The nigerian government has to take its responsability to retake control of this part of the country. The encreasing number of kidnapping and killing gives a proof that, if not controlled, nothern Nigeria would become a threat for the african continent.

by: ali baba from: new york
April 18, 2014 4:02 PM
The Nigerian Gov. . has a very poor intelligent information. these information can be used to plan an effective strategy that could eliminate Boko Haram. Boko harm has a free ride .the army has no clue to get ride of Boko haram. they kill hundred thousand of innocent people. Still the army has not react significantly and decisively .The Muslim terrorist organization and well connected and they heavily finance by rich Arab countries and politician in Us believe that Islam is peaceful religion and forget the fact that terrorist activities spread at so many countries and pose serious threat in many countries such as Syria, Libya, Egypt ,Afghanistan , Mali , Nigeria and US and European countries

by: Lafayette Moore from: New Jersey
April 18, 2014 3:28 PM
The people must up against anything that is not demoncratic and coercive

by: SH from: USA
April 18, 2014 12:51 PM
Angrily I say: "The roaming armies of youthful and undisciplined war babies need to make more war babies." I think militant youth culture is nurtured by a slaver mindshare and network. Caches and communications and cells. And I think THAT is why Africa has some really deep issues with building cohesive pockets of social infrastructure.
In Response

by: bs from: usa
April 19, 2014 9:47 PM
Africa is a continent, not a country, and many of its countries have some really deep issues because of non-Africans. Starting with: Allowing non-African media to make up a new geographical location for "light skinned" AFRICAN countries. The Middle East.

by: Embarrassed Deltan from: Houston
April 18, 2014 11:04 AM
What sort of nonsense, people live in a country where their basic freedom is no longer gauranteed. How will the families, friends, and most importantly the victims (mostly teenage girls) overcome this incident...It will stay in their hearts forever. I wonder what those girls are going through right now in the midst of those dirty/barbaric militants....and the Government does not even bother much...afterall it will never happen to them nor anyone closely related.......or so they think...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs