Nigerian president believes girls still in country

2014-05-10 07:23
Women attend a mass-demonstration calling on the government to increase efforts to rescue the hundreds of missing kidnapped school girls of a government secondary school Chibok, in Lagos, Nigeria. (Sunday Alamba, AP)

Women attend a mass-demonstration calling on the government to increase efforts to rescue the hundreds of missing kidnapped school girls of a government secondary school Chibok, in Lagos, Nigeria. (Sunday Alamba, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Abuja - Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said on Friday he believed 200 schoolgirls abducted by Islamist militants last month in an attack that has stirred global outrage are still in his country and have not been moved to neighbouring Cameroon.

As condemnation of the abductions spread, Saudi Arabia's grand mufti, the top religious authority in the birthplace of Islam, said Boko Haram rebels who conducted the abductions had "set up to smear the image of Islam".

Jonathan's government has been criticized for its slow response to the hostage crisis, and Friday is the first time he has said where he thinks the girls are being held.

"There are stories that they have moved them outside of the country. But if they move that number of girls to Cameroon, people will see, so I believe they are still in Nigeria," Jonathan told journalists.

"We are also working with the experts that will use remote sensors to see them [insurgents] wherever they are. So that basically says they are within the Sambisa area," Jonathan said, referring to a forest that is a known Boko Haram hideout near the school from where the girls were abducted.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in the Nigerian capital. The event showcased investment opportunities in Africa's biggest economy, but was partially overshadowed by the kidnapping and a broader militant threat.

Boko Haram's struggle for an Islamic state has killed thousands since it erupted in mid-2009 and has destabilized swathes of the northeast of Africa's top oil producer, as well as neighbours Cameroon and Niger.

Militants stormed a secondary school in the village of Chibok, near the Cameroon border, on 14 April, and kidnapped the girls, who were taking exams at the time. Fifty have since escaped, but more than 200 remain with the insurgents.

Nigeria's military has struggled to maintain security in the turbulent northeast as Boko Haram grows bolder.

Amnesty report

Human rights group Amnesty International said in a statement, citing multiple interviews with sources, that the security forces had been warned more than four hours in advance about the school attack but did not do enough to stop it.

"The fact that Nigerian security forces knew about Boko Haram's impending raid but failed to take the immediate action needed to stop it will only amplify the national and international outcry at this horrific crime," said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty's Africa director of research and advocacy.

Nigeria's Defence Headquarters spokesman Chris Olukolade dismissed Amnesty's report as baseless and said it was aimed at tarring the reputation of the country's authorities.

"The report is just a collation of the rumours, views and allegations of their fellow detractors and local operatives," he said.

Saudi Arabia's grand mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh said Boko Haram had been "misguided" and should be "shown their wrong path and be made to reject it."

His remarks came as religious leaders in the Muslim world, who often do not comment on militant violence, joined in denouncing Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau for saying Allah had told him to sell off the kidnapped girls as forced brides.

Jonathan on Thursday thanked countries including the United States, Britain, France and China for their support in trying to rescue the girls. All have offered assistance. International police agency Interpol on Friday also offered its help.

British experts including diplomats, aid workers and Ministry of Defence officials arrived in Nigeria on Friday to advise the government on the search.

The Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa Affairs said it will hold a hearing next Thursday on US offers of assistance to Nigeria after the abductions.

The revolt has displaced more than 250 000 people in Nigeria and 60 000 have fled the country, UN refugee agency (UNHCR) spokesperson Adrian Edwards said in Geneva on Friday. UNHCR is "alarmed at the recent wave of attacks on civilians", he said.

A militant attack on the market town of Gamburu early on Monday killed at least 125 people, police said.

Read more on:    goodluck jonathan  |  nigeria  |  west africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
13 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.