Tags: nigeria | parents | girls | missing

Nigeria Parents Despair as Girls Languish 6 Months in Captivity

Tuesday, 14 October 2014 06:30 AM

 Parents of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by Islamist militants six months ago are angry at the lack of progress obtaining their release after Cameroon’s success in securing the freedom of 27 hostages.

Some of the parents of the students from the town of Chibok have decided to say final prayers for their offspring since the April 14 kidnapping by Boko Haram, said 60-year-old Enoch Mark, who lost a 20-year-old daughter and 18-year-old adopted girl to the militants.

The hostages in Cameroon were handed over to the authorities and taken to the capital, Yaounde, Minister of Communication Issa Tchiroma said Oct. 11, without giving further details about the release. Among the hostages was the wife of Deputy Premier Amadou Ali who was captured in July in the northern part of the country and 10 Chinese nationals were kidnapped near the northern town of Waza in May.

“The Cameroonian government worked hard to ensure that the wife of the deputy prime minister and others were released,” Mark said yesterday by phone from the capital, Abuja. “Why is Nigeria’s government not so serious about our issue? Are they playing games with us?”

Boko Haram has been fighting security forces in Nigeria for the past five years, bidding to impose Islamic law in Africa’s biggest economy and oil producer. In that time it has killed more than 13,000 people, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said last month. Boko Haram has increased raids in Cameroon this year, and the nation’s President Paul Biya promised yesterday to eradicate the group.

Patience Needed

The public should show patience because the schoolgirls will be freed and the Nigerian government is winning the battle against Boko Haram, government spokesman Mike Omeri said Oct. 9 by phone. President Jonathan said yesterday that leaders from neighboring Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger will finalize the deployment of troops to form a multinational force on Nov. 1 to fight Boko Haram.

The Chibok girls’ kidnapping sparked international outrage and pledges of support to find them by countries including the U.S. and the U.K. Nobel Peace Prize winning Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai visited Nigeria in July to highlight the schoolgirls plight.

The longer the girls remain missing the less likely that they’ll be returned all together either through negotiations or by military force, said Francois Conradie, a political analyst at NKC Independent Economists. It also tarnishes the image of Jonathan’s government before elections in February, he said.

Fighters’ Brides

“I really doubt they’re all in the same group after six months, some of them will have been given away as brides to the fighters,” Conradie said in a phone interview from Cape Town. “It just weakens Jonathan electorally to look as though his government is incapable of doing anything about this.”

In Cameroon, a ransom may have been paid for the 27 hostages, Conradie said.

“It’s a different situation from girls just from random low-middle class families in the north of Nigeria,” Conradie said. “Their families aren’t going to be able to put a ransom together and the government won’t.”

For Chibok parent Mark, hope of his daughters’ return is fading.

“In our culture if some one was missing in a bush for three month we say prayers,” Mark said. “Because we believe they may have died.”


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Parents of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by Islamist militants six months ago are angry at the lack of progress obtaining their release after Cameroon's success in securing the freedom of 27 hostages.Some of the parents of the students from the town of Chibok...
nigeria, parents, girls, missing
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 06:30 AM
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