Abducted Chibok schoolgirls still alive, says President Jonathan

Posted by News Express | 5 March 2015 | 3,011 times

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President Goodluck Jonathan has assured that the over 200 Chibok schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram in April last year are still alive.

“Because they (Boko Haram militants) may use them as shields… we can’t just move in with artillery and clear the place,” Jonathan said this morning on Kakaaki, an AIT interview programme.

“The good news is that they’ve not been killed. They are still alive because when terrorists kill, they display,” he said.

In April of last year, Boko Haram abducted 276 girls from their school dormitories in northeastern Borno State’s town of Chibok, according to official accounts.

Boko Haram kingpin Abubakar Shekau later claimed responsibility for the abductions, offering to trade the kidnapped girls for detained militants held by the Nigerian authorities.

At least 57 of the girls subsequently managed to escape their captors, but the fate of the others remains unknown.

A government delegation – led by Minister of State for Power Mohammed Wakil – met earlier Thursday with parents of the abducted girls in Maiduguri, Borno State’s capital.

“I am here to convey the sympathy of the president and the entire federal cabinet to you, the parents and families, as well as other victims,” Wakil said at the meeting, according to a statement by media spokesman Olawale Rasheed.

“Our president directed me to tell you that his government is committed to doing everything possible for the safe return of your daughters,” he added.

Wakil said that the government had devised a “comprehensive strategy” for reclaiming Boko Haram-held territories, rescuing abductees, resettling displaced persons, and rehabilitating communities ravaged by the militants.

The military has recently carried out a number of air and land raids on Boko Haram strongholds, liberating several towns and local government areas in the process.

Since 2009, Nigeria has battled a fierce Boko Haram insurgency that has ravaged the country’s volatile northeast and left thousands dead.

A seemingly emboldened Boko Haram recently stepped up its militant activity, seizing several areas of Nigeria’s Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, where it has declared a self-styled “Islamic caliphate.”

The insurgency, said to have claimed over 13,000 lives to date, is considered Nigeria’s worst security crisis since a three-year civil war that lasted from 1967 to 1970.

•Adapted from an Anadolu Agency report. Photo shows the Chibok schoolgirls as appeared in a Boko Haram video.

Source: News Express

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