Nigeria marks 3 years since schoolgirls' mass abduction

2017-04-14 17:26
 (File : AFP)

(File : AFP)

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Abuja - Nigerians on Friday marked three years since the mass abduction of nearly 300 schoolgirls by Boko Haram extremists amid anger that government efforts to negotiate their freedom appear to have stalled.

Activists were expected to rally in the capital, Abuja, and commercial hub Lagos to urge President Muhammadu Buhari's government to do more to free the nearly 200 schoolgirls who remain captive.

Nigeria in October announced the release of 21 of the Chibok schoolgirls after negotiations with the extremist group, and it said another group of 83 girls would be released "very soon."

No one has been freed since then. The government this week said negotiations have "gone quite far" but face challenges. It refused to give details, citing security reasons.

The failure of Nigeria's former government to free the girls sparked a global Bring Back Our Girls movement.

The schoolgirls from Chibok village are among thousands of people abducted by the Nigeria-based Boko Haram as it continues to threaten parts of the northeast and has spread into neighbouring countries.

Buhari late last year announced that the extremist group had been "crushed," but it continues to carry out deadly suicide bombings, often strapping them to young women.

On Wednesday, Nigerian security officials said they had thwarted plans by Islamic State group-linked Boko Haram members to attack the embassies of the United States and Britain, along with "other Western interests" in the capital.

Nigeria's military in the past year has rescued thousands of Boko Haram captives while liberating towns and villages from the group's control, but many have been detained as possible Boko Haram suspects.

Boko Haram's seven-year Islamic uprising has killed more than 20 000 people and driven 2.6 million from their homes, with millions facing starvation because of the disruption in markets and agriculture.

Read more on:    boko haram  |  muhammadu buhari  |  nigeria  |  west africa
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