Tags: Nigeria | unrest | kidnapping

Nigeria's Jonathan to Visit Abducted Girls' Town

Thursday, 15 May 2014 05:05 PM

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan will visit a northeastern town where more than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Islamic terrorists, with international criticism mounting of his response to the crisis.

A senior government official said Jonathan will travel to the remote Chibok in Borno state on Friday before flying to Paris for a regional security summit to discuss the Boko Haram threat.

Jonathan and his government have been widely criticized for their slow response to the April 14 kidnapping of  276 girls. Fifty-three of the schoolgirls managed to escape.

The government was forced to act in the face of a social-media campaign and street protests that won global support and attracted the attention of foreign powers, some of which have now sent specialist teams to help in the rescue effort.

In the United States, which has sent drones and surveillance aircraft, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations said Nigeria has been "tragically and unacceptably slow" to tackle the crisis.

"I have called on President Jonathan to demonstrate the leadership his nation is demanding," said  Sen. Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat.

The Defense Department said Nigeria, which has previously resisted outside help to put down the brutal five-year insurgency, can be "an extremely challenging partner to work with".

"In the face of this sophisticated threat, Nigeria's security forces have been slow to adapt with new strategies and new tactics," a spokeswoman said.

Others raised the Nigerian military's human rights record after well-documented claims of abuses carried out by soldiers, including arbitrary detention and summary execution of civilians.

 

 

Nigeria this week approved a six-month extension of the year-old state of emergency in three northeastern states hardest hit by the terrorists. 

Jonathan requested the extension on Tuesday, calling the security situation in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa "daunting" and expressing concern for mounting civilian loss of life.

More than 2,000 people have been killed this year alone, most of them civilians, in increasing violence across Muslim-majority northern Nigeria that has seen churches, schools and entire villages attacked.

 

 

Jonathan has ruled out a prisoner swap with the extremists after Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau demanded their release in exchange for freeing the schoolgirls.

But the government said it remained open to wider talks on ending the insurgency, visiting British Africa minister Mark Simmonds told reporters in Abuja after meeting Jonathan on Wednesday.

 

© AFP 2017

   
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Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan will visit a northeastern town where more than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Islamic militants, with international criticism mounting of his response to the crisis.
Nigeria, unrest, kidnapping
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2014-05-15
Thursday, 15 May 2014 05:05 PM
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