News / Africa

    Parents of Kidnapped Nigerian Girls Meet With President

    Martha Mark, the mother of kidnapped school girl Monica, cries as she displays her photo, in the family house, in Chibok, Nigeria, in this file photo from May 19, 2014.
    Martha Mark, the mother of kidnapped school girl Monica, cries as she displays her photo, in the family house, in Chibok, Nigeria, in this file photo from May 19, 2014.
    Heather Murdock

    Grief-struck and angry parents met with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan Tuesday, demanding answers about efforts to rescue the more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by Islamist militants three months ago.

    The April kidnapping of the girls from Chibok has rattled the Jonathan government, underscoring problems of funding and competency among Nigerian security forces. It also highlighted the potency of threat from the group Boko Haram, which has terrorized much of northeastern Nigeria.

    About 200 people from Chibok traveled to the capital Abuja, about 500 miles to the southwest, to meet with Jonathan at the presidential office. More than 50 girls who escaped the militants shortly after their abduction were also among the group.  

    Government officials refused to let reporters talk to the parents at the site afterward, though Western and local news reports quoted participants as saying it was an emotional meeting.

    “Mr. President’s primary concern is one, to ensure the release of the girls. And also secondly to defend the integrity of the Nigerian state, and that is why the operation against terror is a continuous one, it is a determined one,” presidential spokesman Reuben Abati said. “And no part of Nigeria will be allowed to be over taken by terrorism.”

    Tuesday’s meeting was re-scheduled from last week, when a smaller group of parents refused to meet Jonathan, saying they wanted a larger group to represent their community, among other reasons.  The Nigerian government blamed activists, accusing them of coercing the families to pull out of the meeting to make Jonathan look bad politically. 

    Boko Haram, an increasingly well-organized group that has vowed to fight against what it sees as insidious Western influences, has ratcheted up its terror campaign in recent years. At least 2,000 people have been killed this year alone.

    The April 14 abduction of the schoolgirls stunned Nigerians and sparked a viral Internet campaign called “#BringBackOurGirls” that highlighted the girls’ plight and the threat posed by Boko Haram.

    Over the weekend, Nigerian media reported that the region of Damboa, which neighbors Chibok, had been overrun by Boko Haram. Militants reportedly hoisted black flags over the town on Friday after killing more than 100 people and burning houses.

    Abati denied those reports, as did a Nigerian military spokesman, Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade.

    "The Nigerian military will not concede any portion of this country to terrorists or any such group. We are farming out our deployments in the entire general area," he said. "Our patrols are also active and extending all their activities to reverse every form of insecurity that is noted around there."

    Doctors, meanwhile, warn that the continuing terror campaign is causing lasting psychological scars on the Chibok community and elsewhere. Grief counselors have been trained to help the community, Dr. Danladi Saledrissa, but Boko Haram attacks have prevented those outside Chibok from moving in.

    “The problem is overwhelming and the support is very limited for now,” he said. “But we want to believe that before time runs out more hands will come into it and we are going to have a proper counseling team that will help the community.”

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Joseph Wisgirda from: Davis CA
    July 22, 2014 12:23 PM
    Alright Goodluck, time to face the music and create some political and economic balance within your country. Your country does not support you, or Boko Haram would never have reared it's ugly head. Time to fess up start sharing your oil wealth, or you will only be digging a deeper hole for yourself. You need to examine the motive of these militants, and come up with a solution that does not involve greed.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.