More than 220 Nigerian school girls were kidnapped in the middle of the night by a suspected Islamic terrorist organization. Some of the girls have been forced into “marriage” with their abductors and were paid a nominal bride price of $12, according to a federal senator from the area whose report is unverified.
Some of these young women have been taken across Nigeria’s borders to Cameroon and Chad, parents said last week, quoting villagers. Child marriage is common in northern Nigeria, where it is allowed under Islamic law that clashes with the country’s Western-style constitution.
Anguished parents in Chibok town, who have lost confidence in the government and military, have been begging for international help. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan met with security, school and state officials and ordered that “everything must be done” to free the girls held captive by Islamic extremists, one of his advisers said Sunday amid growing national outrage at the government’s response to the abduction.
Jonathan said in a televised “media chat” Sunday night that he believes Nigeria is winning its war against an Islamic uprising. 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. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry over the weekend 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. CCTV’s Sean Callebs reports with details.