Nigeria reward to find schoolgirls

Parents have had not word about the fate of their abducted daughters

Nigeria’s police have offered a $300,000 (£177,000) cash reward to anyone who can help locate and rescue more than 200 abducted schoolgirls.

They were kidnapped more than three weeks ago by armed Islamist militants from their boarding school in the north-eastern state of Borno.

Another 11 girls were taken on Sunday from villages near the militants’ hideout in a nearby forest.

A team of US experts has been sent to Nigeria to help in the hunt.

Boko Haram’s leader has threatened to “sell” the students

For the last week there have been daily protests countrywide calling for more to be done to find the girls

Earlier this week, the Boko Haram group admitted that its fighters had abducted the girls in the middle of the night from their school in the town of Chibok on 14 April.

Its leader, Abubakar Shekau, threatened to “sell” the students, saying they should not have been in school in the first place, but rather should get married.

The group, whose name means “Western education is forbidden” in the local Hausa language, has staged a wave of attacks in northern Nigeria in recent years, with an estimated 1,500 killed in the violence and subsequent security crackdown this year alone.


A statement from the police said the 50m naira reward would be given to anyone who “volunteers credible information that will lead to the location and rescue of the female students”.

Six telephone numbers are provided, calling on the general public to be “part of the solution to the present security challenge”.

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Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in Hausa

“The police high command also reassures all citizens that any information given would be treated anonymously and with utmost confidentiality,” the statement said.

The abductions have prompted widespread criticism of the Nigerian government and demonstrations countrywide.

The BBC’s Mansur Liman in the capital, Abuja, says many are questioning why it has taken so long for such a reward to be offered.

The girls are mostly aged between 16 and 18 and were taking their final year exams.

Nigeria’s many disparate groups have united behind the issue of the abducted girls

The governments of Chad and Cameroon have denied suggestions that the abducted girls may have already been smuggled over Nigeria’s porous borders into their territory.

On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama described the abductions as “heart-breaking” and “outrageous” and said he hoped the kidnapping might galvanise the international community to take action against Boko Haram.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron will be speaking by phone to Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday afternoon regarding the abductions.

Security has been tightened in Abuja as several African leaders and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang are attending the World Economic Forum for Africa in the city, following two recent attacks there blamed on the insurgents.

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May 7th, 2014

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