The Islamist militant group Boko Haram has publicly claimed responsibility for abducting more than 200 Nigerian girls. The group’s leader sent a video to the AFP news agency, the BBC reports:
In the video, Abubakar Shekau [a Boko Haram leader] said the girls should not have been in school in the first place, but rather should get married.“God instructed me to sell them, they are his properties and I will carry out his instructions,” he said.However, BBC Hausa Service editor Mansur Liman points out that the Boko Haram leader did not state the number of girls abducted, nor where they were taken or are now. […]The Associated Press news agency says it is unclear whether the video was made before or after reports last week that some of the girls had been forced to marry their abductors, who paid a nominal bride price of $12 (£9).Others are reported to have been taken across borders into Cameroon and Chad.
The girls, ranging in age from 16 to 18, were taken from their school on April 14, and most are still missing. As we wrote last week, the Nigerian government has bungled the response and isn’t even sure how many girls were abducted (the number is thought to be about 230). And there’s more evidence of the government’s incompetence and misplaced priorities:
A woman who helped organise protests over the abduction was detained and later released.Naomi Mutah was taken to a police station after a meeting called by First Lady Patience Jonathan.Mrs Jonathan reportedly felt slighted that the girls’ mothers had sent Ms Mutah to the meeting instead of going themselves.The AP news agency quotes another community leader [from Chibok, where the girls’ school is located], Saratu Angus Ndirpaya, as saying that Mrs Jonathan accused the activists of fabricating the abductions and supporting Boko Haram.
The U.S. has offered to share intelligence with Nigeria and possibly to aid in a rescue attempt. Judging by its recent lack of progress and general ineptitude, the Nigerian government can use all the help it can get.UPDATE: Boko Haram is suspected to be behind today’s attack on a school in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. No one was injured, and the assailants did not succeed in kidnapping any students. The attack occurred only a day before the World Economic Forum on Africa is set to begin in Abuja. Recent bombings in the city have already raised concerns over visitors’ safety.At almost the same time as the assault on the school, armed men broke a member of Boko Haram out of a Cameroonian prison.FURTHER UPDATE: Voice of America reports that eight girls, aged 12 to 15, were abducted from a village in northeast Nigeria last night, also likely by Boko Haram.EVEN FURTHER UPDATE: The International Business Times is reporting that the FBI will be sending in agents to assist in the search for the stolen girls.