Monday, May 5, 2014

Nigeria missing school children Updates - May 5 , 2014 --- Boko Haram claims Nigeria abductions Armed group claims responsibility for kidnapping 276 girls with leader threatening to "sell them in the marketplace" ......... Nigeria 'arrests abduction protest leaders' First Lady accused of ordering arrest of women leading protests over abduction of 276 girls, saying incident fabricated ...........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. 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.

5/7/14 Updates.....

Boko Haram attack kills hundreds in Nigeria

Officials estimate the death toll at 300 in town left unguarded during attempts to rescue missing schoolgirls.

Last updated: 07 May 2014 22:05
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A Boko Haram attack has killed hundreds in Nigeria's northeast, multiple sources have said, as police offered $300,000 for information leading to the rescue of more than 200 schoolgirls held hostage by the armed group.
The latest attack reported on Wednesday targeted the town of Gamboru Ngala on the border with Cameroon, where gunmen earlier this week razed scores of buildings and fired on civilians as they tried to flee.
Area Senator Ahmed Zanna put the death toll at 300, in an account supported by numerous residents.
Zanna said the town had been left unguarded because soldiers based there had been redeployed north towards Lake Chad in an effort to rescue more than 200 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram on April 14.
The mass abduction has sparked global outrage and offers of help from the United States, Britain, France and China.
Nigeria's response to the kidnappings has been widely criticised, including by activists and parents of the hostages who say the military's search operation has been inept so far.
President Goodluck Jonathan's administration has sought to appear more engaged with the plight of the hostages in recent days, especially after Boko Haram chief Abubakar Shekau released a video threatening to sell the girls as "slaves".
In a second kidnapping, another 11 girls aged 12 to 15 were seized on Sunday from Gwoza, an area not far from Chibok and also in Borno state, Boko Haram's base.
Boko Haram's five-year uprising has killed thousands across Africa's most populous country, with many questioning whether Nigeria has the capacity to contain the violence.
Reward for arrest of armed group
Meanwhile, police on Wednesday offered a $300,000 reward to anyone who could provide information leading to the rescue of the schoolgirls.
US joins search for missing Nigerian girls

"The Nigeria police hereby announce a cash reward of 50m naira to anyone who volunteers credible information that will lead to the location and rescue of the female students abducted from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State," the police said in a statement.
The police also released six phone numbers and urged Nigerians to call.
Abubakar Shekau, a Boko Haram leader, threatened in a video to sell the girls who were taken from the secondary school in the village of Chibok "on the market".
Nigerian leaders also accepted an offer by the US to send a team to the country to help search for the missing girls.
The US team consists of "military, law enforcement, and other agencies", US President Barack Obama said in an interview with US broadcaster ABC, and will work to "identify where in fact these girls might be and provide them help".
Obama also denounced Boko Haram as "one of the worst regional or local terrorist organisations".
"This may be the event that helps to mobilise the entire international community to finally do something against this horrendous organisation that's perpetrated such a terrible crime," he said.








US joins search for abducted Nigerian girls

Military and law enforcement experts sent to Nigeria to help find nearly 300 girls and women abducted by Boko Haram.

Last updated: 07 May 2014 10:08
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The United States has sent a team of experts to Nigeria to help find nearly 300 girls and women abducted from a school last month by the armed group Boko Haram.

US President Barack Obama described the kidnapping of the girls as "heartbreaking" and "outrageous", soon after residents said the group had seized eight more girls, aged between 12 and 15, again in the embattled northeast.
Obama urged global action against Boko Haram and confirmed Nigerian leaders had accepted an offer to deploy US personnel there.
The number of girls taken int he latest kidnapping has risen to 11, an official in the restive northeast said on Wednesday.
Residents initially said eight girls were taken when gunmen stormed a village in the Gwoza area of Borno state late on Sunday.
Gwoza official Hamba Tada told AFP the attackers snatched three more girls in a neighbouring village.
"After leaving Warabe the gunmen stormed the Wala village, which is five kilometres (three miles) away and abducted three more girls," he told AFP, referring to the two villages.
Al Jazeera's Yvonne Ndege reports from Abuja where hundreds rallied in support of the missing girls.
The first group of girls was taken three weeks ago, and concerns have been mounting about their fate after Boko Haram chief Abubakar Shekau claimed responsibility in a video, saying his group was holding the schoolgirls as "slaves" and threatening to "sell them in the market".
Shekau criticised the female students for being taught "western education", which the Islamic group is avidly against. He also warned that his group planned to attack more schools and abduct more people.
Speaking to US broadcaster ABC, Obama said: "It's a heartbreaking situation, outrageous situation."
"This may be the event that helps to mobilise the entire international community to finally do something against this horrendous organisation that's perpetrated such a terrible crime," he added.
The team sent to Nigeria consists of "military, law enforcement, and other agencies", Obama said, and will work to "identify where in fact these girls might be and provide them help".
He denounced Boko Haram as "one of the worst regional or local terrorist organisations".
US officials have voiced fears that those abducted, who are aged between 16 and 18, have already been smuggled into neighbouring countries, such as Chad and Cameroon. The governments of both denied those abducted were in their countries.
'Heinous people'
Their fate has sparked global outrage and may constitute a crime against humanity according to the UN.
Parents of those taken said Shekau's video had made an already horrifying situation even worse.
"All along, we have been imagining what could happen to our daughters in the hands of these heinous people," one mother, Lawal Zanna, told AFP news agency by phone from Chibok.
The latest kidnappings also took place in Borno state.
We have no security here. If the gunmen decide to pick our own girls, nobody can stop them.
- Warabe resident
Abdullahi Sani, a resident of Warabe, said gunmen had moved "door to door, looking for girls" late on Sunday.
"They forcefully took away eight girls between the ages of 12 and 15," he said, in an account confirmed by other witnesses.
He said the attackers did not kill anyone, which was "surprising", and suggested that abducting girls was the motive for the attack.
Another Warabe resident, Peter Gombo, told AFP that the military and police had not yet deployed to the area.
"We have no security here. If the gunmen decide to pick our own girls, nobody can stop them."
Though initially slow to emerge, global outrage has flared over the mass abduction in Chibok, where Boko Haram stormed their school and loaded the girls at gunpoint onto trucks.
Several managed to escape but over 220 girls are still being held, according to police, with other sources saying the number is closer to 300.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague called the kidnappings "disgusting".
Egypt's prestigious Islamic institute Al-Azhar, which runs the main Sunni Islamic university in the region, said harming the girls "completely contradicts the teachings of Islam".






















New Straits Times report put Nigeria military actions and inactions in the spotlight.....



Girl describes kidnap, 276 still missing

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LAGOS: The girls in the school dorm could hear the sound of gunshots from a nearby town. So when armed men in uniforms burst in and promised to rescue them, at first they were relieved.

“Don’t worry, we’re soldiers,” one 16-year-old girl recalls them saying. “Nothing is going to happen to you.”  
   
The gunmen commanded the hundreds of students at the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School to gather outside. The men went into a storeroom and removed all the food. Then they set fire to the room.  
   
“They ... started shouting, `Allahu Akhbar,’ (God is great),” the 16-year-old student said. “And we knew.”  
   
What they knew was chilling: The men were not government soldiers at all. They were members of the ruthless Islamic extremist group called Boko Haram. They kidnapped the entire group of girls and drove them away in pickup trucks into the dense forest.  
   
Three weeks later, 276 girls are still missing. At least two have died of snakebite, and about 20 others are ill, according to an intermediary who is in touch with their captors.  
   
Their plight — and the failure of the Nigerian military to find them — has drawn international attention to an escalating Islamic extremist insurrection that has killed more than 1,500 so far this year.
Boko Haram, the name means “Western education is sinful,” has in a video seen Monday claimed responsibility for the mass kidnapping and threatened to sell the girls.
The British and U.S. governments have issued statements of concern over the fate of the missing students, and protests have erupted in major Nigerian cities and in New York.  
   
The 16-year-old was among about 50 students who escaped on that fateful day, and she spoke for the first time in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
The AP also interviewed about 30 others, including Nigerian government and Borno state officials, school officials, six relatives of the missing girls, civil society leaders and politicians in northeast Nigeria and soldiers in the war zone.
Many spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing that giving their names would also reveal the girls’ identities and subject them to possible stigmatization in this conservative society.  
   
The Chibok girls school is in the remote and sparsely populated northeast region of Nigeria, a country of 170 million with a growing chasm between a north dominated by Muslims and a south by Christians.
Like all schools in Borno state, Chibok, an elite academy of both Muslim and Christian girls, had been closed because of increasingly deadly attacks by Boko Haram. But it had reopened to allow final-year students to take exams.  
   
At about 11 p.m. on April 14, a local government official, Bana Lawal, received a warning via cell phone. He was told that about 200 heavily armed militants in 20 pickup trucks and more than 30 motorcycles were headed toward his town.  
   
Lawal alerted the 15 soldiers guarding Chibok, he said. Then he roused sleeping residents and told them to flee into the bush and the nearby hills. The soldiers sent an SOS to the nearest barracks, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) away, an hour’s drive on a dirt road.  
   
No help arrived.   
   
When the militants showed up two hours after the warning, the soldiers fought valiantly, Lawal said. Although they were outnumbered and outgunned, they held off the insurgents for an hour and a half, desperately waiting for reinforcements. One was killed.
They ran out of ammunition and fled for their lives.   
   
As dawn approached, the extremists headed for the boarding school.   
   
There were too many gunmen to count, said the girl who escaped. So, even after the students realized the men were Islamic extremists, they obediently sat in the dirt. The men set the school ablaze and herded the girl’s group onto the backs of three pickup trucks.  
   
The trucks drove through three villages, but then the car of fighters following them broke down. That’s when the girl and her friend jumped out.  
   
Others argued, the 16-year-old remembered. But one student said, “We should go! Me, I am coming down. They can shoot me if they want but I don’t know what they are going to do with me otherwise.”   
   
As they jumped, the car behind started up. Its lights came on. The girls did not know if the fighters could see them, so they ran into the bush and hid.  
   
“We ran and ran, so fast,” said the girl, who has always prided herself on running faster than her six brothers. “That is how I saved myself. I had no time to be scared, I was just running.”  
   
A few other girls clung to low-hanging branches and waited until the vehicles had passed. Then they met up in the bush and made their way back to the road. A man on a bicycle came across them and accompanied them back home.   
   
There, they were met with tears of joy.  
   
“I’m the only girl in my family, so I hold a special place and everyone was so happy,” the girl said. “But that didn’t last long.”  
   
The day after, the Defense Ministry put out a statement quoting the school principal, saying soldiers had rescued all but eight of the girls. When the principal denied it, the ministry retracted its statement.   
   
With confidence in the military eroded, the residents of Chibok pooled their money, bought fuel for motorcycles and headed into the dangerous Sambisa Forest.
The forest sprawls over more than 23,000 square miles (59,570 sq. kilometers), nearly eight times the size of Yellowstone National Park in the United States, and is known to shelter extremist hideouts.   
   
Mutah Buba joined the search party hoping to find his two sisters and two nieces. They got directions from villagers along the way who said they had seen the abductors with the girls on a forest path.
Finally, an old man herding cattle at a fork in the road warned them that they were close to the camp, but that they and their daughters could be killed if they confronted the militants.  
   
The searchers returned to Chibok and appealed to the few soldiers there to accompany them into the forest. They refused, point blank, Buba said. Parents in Chibok ask why they came within a couple of miles of their daughters, yet the military did not.   
   
“What was strange was that none of the people we spoke to had seen a soldier man in the area, yet the military were saying they were in hot pursuit,” said Buba, a 42-year-old drawn home to Chibok by the tragedy from Maiduguri, the Borno state capital 130 kilometers (80 miles) to the northwest.   
   
The military says it is diligently searching for the girls, with extensive aerial surveillance.  
   
“Every information relayed to security agencies has so far been investigated, including the search of all places suspected as a possible hide-away of the kidnapped girls,” Information Minister Labaran Maku said Friday.  
   
Many soldiers have told the AP they are demoralized, because Boko Haram is more heavily armed and better equipped, while they get little more than a meal a day.   
   
Some of the kidnapped girls have been forced into “marriage” with their Boko Haram abductors, sold for a nominal bride price of $12, according to parents who talked with villagers. Others have been taken across borders to Cameroon and Chad, they said.
Their accounts could not be verified, but forced child marriage is common in northern Nigeria, where it is allowed under Islamic law but not the country’s Western-style constitution.   
   
In the meantime, the parents are frantic. Through sobs and jagged gasps for air, the mother of a missing 15-year-old said she had lost confidence in the authorities.  
   
“I am so very sad because the government of Nigeria did not take care of our children and does not now care about our children,” said the mother, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect her daughter. “All we have left is to pray to God to help them and help us.”   
   
The mother of six wondered what would happen to her daughter’s lofty ambition to become a doctor. She said the girl spent her time caring for the family, and would cook whatever her mother wanted to eat.  
   
“She is my first-born, the best,” said the mother, who broke into a scream followed by wails of sorrow. “What am I to do as a mother?”  
   
Spurred by growing national outrage, President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday set up a committee to work out a rescue strategy, and expressed confidence that the military will find the girls.   
   
The only way to get the girls back is through negotiation, according to an Islamic scholar who has mediated the release of previous hostages.
The scholar, who remained anonymous because his position receiving messages from Boko Haram is sensitive, said the militants are willing to free the girls for a ransom, but have not specified how much.  
   
The 16-year-old who escaped keeps thinking of her friends, and wondering why she was able to get away while they are still captive. She is at times afraid and at times angry.   
   
“I am really lucky and I can thank God for that,” she said. “But God must help all of them ... Their parents are worrying. Every day, everyone is crying.”  -- AP

In this image made from video received by The Associated Press on Monday, May 5, 2014, Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Nigeria's Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, speaks in a video in which his group claimed responsibility for the April 15 mass abduction of nearly 300 teenage schoolgirls in northeast Nigeria. Shekau threatened to sell the nearly 300 teenage schoolgirls abducted from a school in the remote northeast three weeks ago, in a new videotape received Monday. It was unclear if the video was made before or after reports emerged last week that some of the girls have been forced to marry their abductors — who paid a nominal bride price of $12 — and that others have been carried into neighboring Cameroon and Chad. Those reports could not be verified. AP Photo






http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2014/05/nigeria-arrests-abduction-protest-leaders-201455103929656287.html

Nigeria 'arrests abduction protest leaders'

First Lady accused of ordering arrest of women leading protests over abduction of 276 girls, saying incident fabricated.

Last updated: 05 May 2014 12:09
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A leader of a protest march for 276 missing schoolgirls has said that Nigeria's First Lady ordered her and another protest leader to be arrested, expressing doubts that there had been any kidnapping and accused them of belonging to the group blamed for the abductions.

Saratu Angus Ndirpaya, from of Chibok where the kidnappings took place, said state security service agents drove her and protest leader Naomi Mutah Nyadar to a police station on Monday after an all-night meeting at the presidential villa in Abuja, the capital.

She said police immediately released her but that Nyadar remains in detention.
A national police spokesman referred a journalist to the spokeswoman for police in Abuja. Reached on the phone, the spokeswoman said she was driving and could not immediately respond, the AP news agency reported.
Other reports said three women had been arrested on Sunday night.
Abductions fabricated
Ndirpaya says First Lady Patience Jonathan accused them of fabricating the abductions.

"She [Jonathan] told so many lies, that we just wanted the government of Nigeria to have a bad name, that we did not want to support her husband's rule," she said in a telephone interview with AP.

Ndirpaya said other women at the meeting cheered and chanted "yes, yes," when the first lady accused them of belonging to Boko Haram, the group accused of kidnapping the girls.

"They said we are Boko Haram, and that Mrs Nyadar is a member of Boko Haram."

She said Nyadar and herself do not have daughters among those abducted, but are supporting the mothers of the kidnapped daughters.
Boko Haram reponsible
Boko Haram on Monday said it was responsible for the abduction of the 276 schoolgirls, the AFP news agency reported.

"I abducted your girls," the group's leader Abubakar Shekau said in the 57-minute video obtained by the agency, referring to the hundreds of students kidnapped from their school in Chibok, Borno state, on April 14.

Fifty-three of the girls managed to escape from the fighters, who want to introduce Islamic law in the country, but 223 were still being held, state police said last Friday.

The mass abduction and failure to rescue the girls, now in a fourth week of captivity, is a source of deep embarrassment to Jonathan and his government, which is accused of insensitivity to the girls' plight and not doing enough to rescue them.

In a televised "media chat" on Sunday night, Jonathan promised his administration is doing everything possible and called for international help to find the girls.

On Friday, he created a presidential committee to go to Borno state to work with the community on a strategy for the release of the girls.




http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2014/05/nigeria-appeal-find-abducted-girls-20145423528504411.html



Boko Haram claims Nigeria abductions

Armed group claims responsibility for kidnapping 276 girls with leader threatening to "sell them in the marketplace".

Last updated: 05 May 2014 15:08
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The Nigerian armed group Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the abduction of 276 schoolgirls during a raid in the village of Chibok in northeast Nigeria last month, the AFP news agency reported, citing a video it had obtained.
"I abducted your girls," the group's leader Abubakar Shekau said on Monday in the 57-minute video obtained by the agency, referring to the hundreds of students kidnapped from their school in Chibok, Borno state, on April 14.
"By Allah, I will sell them in the marketplace," he said in the video that starts with fighters lofting automatic rifles and shooting in the air as they chant "Allahu akbar!" or "God is great."
Boko Haram allegedly stormed the all-girl secondary school, then packed the teenagers, who had been taking exams, onto trucks and disappeared into a remote area along the border with Cameroon.
Boko Haram, now seen as the main security threat to Africa's leading energy producer, is growing bolder and extending its reach.
The apparent lack of capability of the military to prevent the Chibok attack or rescue the abducted girls after three weeks has triggered anger and protests in the northeast and in the capital Abuja.
Protest leader arrested
In a separate development, a leader of a protest march in support of the schoolgirls has said that Nigeria's First Lady ordered her and another protest leader to be arrested, expressing doubts that there had been any kidnapping and accused them of belonging to the group blamed for the abductions.

Saratu Angus Ndirpaya said state security service agents drove her and protest leader Naomi Mutah Nyadar to a police station on Monday after an all-night meeting at the presidential villa in Abuja, the capital.

She said police immediately released her but that Nyadar remained in detention.
A national police spokesman referred a journalist to the spokeswoman for police in Abuja. Reached on the phone, the spokeswoman said she was driving and could not immediately respond, the AP news agency reported.
Other reports said three women had been arrested on Sunday night.
'Abductions fabricated'
Ndirpaya said First Lady Patience Jonathan accused them of fabricating the abductions.

"She [Jonathan] told so many lies, that we just wanted the government of Nigeria to have a bad name, that we did not want to support her husband's rule," she said in a telephone interview with AP.

Ndirpaya said other women at the meeting cheered and chanted "yes, yes," when the First Lady accused them of belonging to Boko Haram.

"They said we are Boko Haram, and that Mrs Nyadar is a member of Boko Haram."

She said Nyadar and herself do not have daughters among those abducted, but were supporting the mothers of the kidnapped daughters.
Fifty-three of the girls managed to escape from the fighters, who want to introduce Islamic law in the country, but 223 were still being held, state police said last Friday.

The mass abduction and failure to rescue the girls, now in a fourth week of captivity, is a source of deep embarrassment to the Nigerian government, which is accused of insensitivity to the girls' plight and not doing enough to rescue them.

In a televised "media chat" on Sunday night,  Presdent Goodluck Jonathan promised his administration was doing everything possible and called for international help to find the girls.

On Friday, he created a presidential committee to go to Borno state to work with the community on a strategy for the release of the girls.









Nigeria leader seeks help over missing girls

President Goodluck Jonathan calls for international help to find 276 girls kidnapped by suspected Boko Haram fighters.

Last updated: 05 May 2014 10:27
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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.
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.
"This is a trying time for this country... it is painful," he said, and pleaded for the cooperation of parents, guardians and the local communities in the rescue efforts.
"We will get over our [security] challenge," he stated, adding that Nigerians were "justified if they expressed their anger against government" over the perceived slowness in rescuing the girls who were kidnapped from their hostel in Chibok town, in northeast Borno state, on April 14.
He assured that the "disappearance" of the girls would not be another global "mystery" in reference to the missing Malaysian passenger jet that has not been found despite the vast multi-national search deployed.
US promises help
On Saturday, US Secretary of State John Kerry promised help. "The kidnapping of hundreds of children by Boko Haram is an unconscionable crime, and we will do everything possible to support the Nigerian government to return these young women to their homes and to hold the perpetrators to justice," Kerry said from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Jonathan met for the first time with all the stakeholders on Saturday, including the principal of the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School in northeastern Nigeria where the girls and young women were kidnapped in a pre-dawn raid on April 15, presidential adviser Reuben Abati told reporters.
Nigerians' anger at the failure to rescue the students, and protest marches last week in major Nigerian cities as well as New York City, have spurred to action Jonathan's government, which many see as uncaring of the girls' plight.
Unverified reports suggested that some of the girls were sold into marriage with their abductors for $12.
Nii Akuteh : 'Boko Haram are the prime suspects'

Some of the girls were taken across Nigeria's borders to Cameroon and Chad, parents said last week, quoting villagers.
Anguished parents in Chibok town, who have lost confidence in the government and military, have been begging for international help.
The mass kidnapping is one of the most shocking attacks in Boko Haram's five-year offensive, which has killed thousands across the north and centre of the country, including 1,500 people this year alone.
Boko Haram, an armed group whose name means "Western education is sinful", is fighting what it calls Western influence and wants to form an Islamic state in Africa's largest oil producer country.