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

Afghan Government Says Taliban Leader Mullah Omar Died in 2013

President Ashraf Ghani's office confirms Omar died in 2013, although Taliban sources continue to deny reclusive leader has been dead for more than two years More

Erdogan in China Amid Tensions on Uighurs, Missile System

Turkey's president has criticized China's heavy-handed policies toward Uighurs in violence-plagued Xinjiang region, where China says it is fighting foreign-backed separatists More

Critics: China’s President Using Law to Tighten Grip on Power

President Xi, who has stressed importance of 'rule of law' and law-based governance, has exerted increasingly tighter grip over society since coming to office More

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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
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 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 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 Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
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 Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
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.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs