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Boko Haram releases video showing kidnapped schoolgirls. Offers to exchange them for jailed Boko Haram members
| May 13, 2014
In a video released yesterday the leader of Boko Haram, Sheikh Abubakar Shekau, said that they would not release the kidnapped girls unless Boko Haram members who are currently in jail are released. In the video, a group of girls, dressed in hijab , are shown reciting the Holy Koran. Three of the girls were interviewed in the video and two of them said they are Christians and say have converted to Islam and the third girl said she is a Muslim. On April 14th, over 200 girls were abducted from a Secondary School in Chibok, in Borno state , which has a sizeable Christian community. Some of the girls managed to escape but over 200 are still missing. The Nigerian government was slow in its response to the kidnapping and has been severely criticized over it. The kidnapping has gathered the attention of people around the world with rallies being help in major cities around the world. Speaking in Hausa and Arabic, Sheikh Abubakar Shekau claimed that he had been commanded by Allah to kidnap the girls and said that they had been liberated. He said, “These girls, these girls you occupy yourselves withâ€Â¦ we have indeed liberated them. We have indeed liberated them. Do you know we have liberated them? These girls have become Muslims." He also said that the girls will not be released unless jailed Boko Haram members are also released. He said, All I’m saying is if you want us to release your girls that we kidnapped, you must release our brethren that are held in Borno state , Yobe state , Kano state , Abuja,, Kaduna state , Lagos state and Enugu state . “There are some of my brethren who have spent five complete years without seeing their wives, without seeing their children. For Allah's sake, even for ensuring their release, will I not kidnap? After all Allah says I should kidnap." “You that seized and detained my brethren for five years, you arrested and kept a woman without getting married for four, five years, you seized and hold our children. You did all these to us and today because we did what Allah already told us to do and you are busy making noise saying Shekau has kidnapped this and that, he said he would sell’. Yes, I will sell them. Those of them that have not accepted Islam, they are now gathered in numbers. They are staying with us. We will never release them until our brethren are released.” Reacting to the release of the video and the demands for the release of jailed Boko Haram members, the Federal government said it is still reviewing the content of the video and the demands issued by Boko Haram. In a statement, the head of the National Orientation Agency said, “The Federal Government has seen the online video reportedly issued by the Jama’atu ahlul sunnah lidda’awati wal jihad (Boko Haram) of the abducted Nigerian School girls who have been held captive since 15, April 2014 “Government is reviewing the content of the video and the accompanying statement issued by the sect. Government will continue to explore all options for the release and safe return of our girls back to their homes. An earlier report by a section of the media purported to have been issued by Government is totally false,” #Bringbackourgirls

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"The views and opinions expressed in these comment(s) or article(s) do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of NGEX, its partners or its affiliates."
OBJ    Houston, Texas, USA    May 16, 2014
The article you are about to read was not written by me, but its content is very schilling. It tells you all you need to know by our president and why the country is the way it is. I would like to see strong revolt in Nigeria to re-direct the direction of the country. It is bleeding very bad now and devoid of leadership.

Please read and understand.

Missing Nigeria Schoolgirls - The abduction by Islamic extremists of nearly 300 girls from a school in Chibok, Nigeria, has sparked global outrage and drawn a spotlight on the terrorists who took them, Boko Haram.

Lost Forever? Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan Cowers Amid Terror - By Bill Neely

Deep in a dense forest in northern Nigeria, more than 200 young girls, some as young as 12, are beginning a second month in the hands of gangs of armed Islamist fanatics.

U.S. officials believe they have been split up into three groups, one of which their kidnappers captured on video. It is a video anguished parents watched this week, identifying, through their tears, more than 70 of their daughters.

Their plight has touched the hearts of people around the world. But in the country’s capital Abuja, one man appears unmoved. Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan failed to make any comment on the girls’ kidnapping for three weeks.

This week his office announced that on Friday he would finally visit the village from where girls were abducted, Chibok in Borno state. The president would meet the girls’ parents. The stage was set for Jonathan to show he felt their pain and cared for his people, their children. And then, on the morning he was meant to go, he canceled the trip.

The Nigerian president wouldn’t visit after all. He wouldn’t see the parents. He wouldn’t even see his soldiers, who, we are told, are searching for the girls. His aides suggested he was persuaded not to go by "security advise". He’s going to Paris instead.

Since the day the girls were kidnapped. Jonathan hasn’t set foot in the state where it happened, never mind the boarding school where the girls were woken from their sleep and snatched by Boko Haram militants. His wife Patience criticized the parents who were protesting the lack of effort in finding them. There are reports she even asked for one of the protest leaders to be arrested.

Meanwhile her husband glibly told global leaders gathered in his capital for the World Economic Forum that the kidnapping had a silver lining; it would mean the end of terrorism in Nigeria.

It is a text book example of how not to respond to a national tragedy. And this is no ordinary tragedy. This is one that threatens to further tarnish Nigeria’s already terrible reputation for governance and competence.

Africa’s most populous country, boasting the continent’s biggest army and its biggest economy, looks today like a laughing stock; a state that not only fails its citizens but callously fails even to acknowledge that there’s much of a problem.

Nigeria’s army said this week it had launched an operation to find and rescue the girls. It has offered no proof whatsoever that it’s doing this. On the same day, its army commander in the region was fired and replaced. His troops nearly mutinied during the week after Boko Haram attackers killed several of their comrades.

The Army, and the government, have been stung by strong criticism both at home and abroad this week. The Governor of Borno State Kashim Shettima says the federal government has been “deaf, dumb and blind” to the threat posed by Boko Haram for three years.

In Washington, Nigeria’s military was heavily criticized by a senior U.S. Defense official. Alice Friend, the Pentagon’s top Africa official, told a Senate panel the Nigerian army was showing “real fear” in battling Boko Haram and couldn’t match their “brutality and violence,” preferring "to avoid coming into conflict with them.”

In another stinging remark she said “we cannot ignore that Nigeria can be an extremely challenging partner to deal with.”

On Saturday, President Jonathan and his Defense and National Security ministers will sit in Paris with representatives of the United States and EU and leaders of his neighboring countries to try to solve the problem of Islamist terrorism in Central and West Africa. The goal is an action plan to share intelligence and to seal their borders more effectively. Although they are neighbors and scarred by Boko Haram’s violence, there is, for example, “absolutely no dialogue between Cameroon and Nigeria,” according to one French diplomatic source quoted by Reuters.

Whether or not an “action plan” materializes, Goodluck Jonathan will likely return to Nigeria next week with little or no progress to report on finding the schoolgirls. Dozens of military advisers and experts from the United States, Britain, France and Canada are now poring over maps and satellite images. Planes, manned and unmanned, are scouring Nigeria’s vast Sambisa forest. The FBI, CIA, Israeli intelligence — even China’s security services — have been drawn in to a manhunt that has gripped the world.

It just doesn’t seem to have made much of an impression on Nigeria's president.


Bill Neely is NBC News chief global correspondent.
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