Tags: Nigeria | protests | kidnapped girls

Nigeria Bans Protests in Capital Over Kidnapped Girls

Monday, 02 Jun 2014 03:34 PM

Nigerian police have banned protests in the capital Abuja demanding freedom for schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists, saying the demonstrations could be hijacked by "dangerous elements", the police said on Monday.

Nigeria has seen near-daily protests over the abduction and continued detention of more than 200 school girls by the Boko Haram, but much of the anger has been focused on the government for failing to protect the citizens from the Islamist militant group..

The girls were snatched from the remote northeastern village of Chibok, near the Cameroon border, on April 14.

Officials close to President Goodluck Jonathan say the protests are unfairly directed at the government and security forces when they should be protesting against the rebels.

"I cannot fold my hands and watch this lawlessness," police commissioner Joseph Mbu was quoted by the state-owned News Agency of Nigeria as saying.

"Information reaching us is that too soon, dangerous elements will join groups under the guise of protest and detonate explosives aimed at embarrassing the government."

An international campaign to get the girls freed has shone the spotlight on Nigeria's violent 5-year-old Islamist insurgency, which has killed thousands since 2009.

The campaign triggered pledges of international support to rescue the girls, and U.S. troops are in neighboring Chad on a mission to find them.

Mbu added that the venue for the Abuja protest, the 'Fountain of Unity,' had become a place for "cooking and selling" by hawkers to the protesters, which he said was a "nuisance".

The government has been repeatedly criticized for failing to protect civilians in the northeast. At least 530 civilians have been killed since the day of the girls' abduction, according to a Reuters count.

But authorities say any attempt to rescue the girls would be fraught with danger, as they are most likely separated into groups. Freeing one group, even if they came out alive, would endanger the others.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

 
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Nigerian police have banned protests in the capital Abuja demanding freedom for schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists, saying the demonstrations could be hijacked by "dangerous elements", the police said on Monday.
Nigeria, protests, kidnapped girls
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2014-34-02
Monday, 02 Jun 2014 03:34 PM
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