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.

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Comment Sorting
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...

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