Nigerian president orders renewed efforts to free kidnapped girls

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Women attend a demonstration calling on the government to rescue kidnapped schoolgirls of a government secondary school Chibok, in Abuja, Nigeria. Photo: AP
Nigeria\’s President has appealed for international help to find, and ensure the release of, 276 schoolgirls abducted by suspected Boko Haram fighters, amid criticism over government inaction.
They were taken three weeks ago from their school in Borno state by suspected Islamist militants.
Goodluck Jonathan said on Sunday that he had sought help from the US President Barack Obama, and also approached other world powers including Britain, France and China for help on security issues.
In a broadcast appearance Sunday, Jonathan promised "… anywhere the girls are, we will surely get them out."
The president described it as a "trying" and "painful time" and pleaded for the cooperation of parents, guardians and local communities in the rescue efforts.
The president said that despite searches by the army and the air force, the girls had not been found.
He asked for the co-operation of parents and the local communities in the rescue efforts, saying the "government needs assistance."
"It is a trying time for this country… it is painful," he added.
President Jonathan dismissed the suggestion that negotiations were taking place to secure the release of the girls, saying it was impossible to talk to Boko Haram.
The girls were abducted April 15, in the town of Chibok in Borno state. About 50 of the 276 abducted girls are said to have since escaped.
Unverified reports suggested that some of the girls were sold into marriagewith their abductors for $12.
Some of the girls were taken across Nigeria\’s borders to Cameroon and Chad, parents said last week, quoting villagers.
Islamist militants known as Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is a sin", are believed to be behind the kidnapping of the girls from their school in Chibok.
The kidnapping has been blamed on the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, whose five-year insurgency has killed thousands. The group has not claimed responsibility
Local officials say they believe some of the girls have been moved across the border into Cameroon and Chad.
Source: Agencies

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