Outrage grows over Nigerian kidnapped girls

Kano – Protesters will hold a “million-woman march” in the Nigerian capital on Wednesday over the government’s failure to rescue scores of schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram Islamists two weeks ago.

Angry Nigerian parents lashed out at the government Tuesday as a local leader claimed the hostages had been sold as wives abroad.

“May God curse every one of those who has failed to free our girls,” said Enoch Mark, whose daughter and two nieces were among the more than 100 students abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School in the Chibok area of the northeastern state of Borno.

The attack was one of the most shocking in Boko Haram’s five-year uprising, which has claimed thousands of lives across northern and central Nigeria.

The outrage that followed the mass abduction has been compounded by disputes over how many girls were seized and criticism of the military’s search-and-rescue effort.

Borno officials have said 129 girls were kidnapped when gunmen stormed the school after sundown on April 14 and forced the students – who are between 12 and 17 years old – onto a convoy of trucks. Officials said 52 have since escaped.

Locals, including the school’s principal, have rejected those numbers, insisting that 230 students were snatched and that 187 are still being held hostage.

Mark told AFP that his wife has hardly slept since the attack, lying awake at night “thinking about our daughter”.

An organisation called Women for Peace and Justice has called for a “million-woman protest march” in the capital Abuja on Wednesday to demand that more resources be committed to securing the girls’ release.

While the group is unlikely to rally a crowd of that size, support for the movement has been growing on Twitter under #BringBackOurGirls.

Pogo Bitrus, leader of a Chibok elders group, told AFP that locals had been tracking the movements of the hostages with the help of “various sources” across the northeast.

“From the information we received yesterday from Cameroonian border towns our abducted girls were taken… into Chad and Cameroon,” he said.

The girls were then sold as brides to Islamist fighters for 2,000 naira ($12) each, Bitrus added. ….

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