Nation holds breath over fate of 100 kidnapped schoolgirls
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/21/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
More than one hundred Nigerian schoolgirls remain missing after a brazen nighttime kidnapping believed to have been carried out by the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram. The military was forced last to retract an earlier statement that most of the captives had been released.
Gunmen raided the school after shooting both a solder and a policemen down in cold blood before herding the students onto trucks and driving away, according to police and eyewitnesses.The gunmen were members of the Islamist group calling itself Boko Haram.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Friends and relatives of the missing students were understandably upset with the retraction. Some parents have reportedly have begun to search for themselves in a forested area where the Islamist Boko Haram is known to have hideouts.
It marked yet another setback in the military's campaign against the terrorists. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency last year in three northern states, granting armed forces sweeping powers and vowing to "win this war against terror."
The situation has only worsened over the past year. The first few months of 2014 have witnessed more than 1,500 deaths, making the still-young year of 2014 the deadliest yet in Boko Haram's jihad, which began escalating in 2009.
The seizure of 129 secondary schoolgirls occurred in Borno, one of the three state of emergency states, just hours after a bombing. Seventy-five people in the capital, Abuja were killed in related violence, making it the deadliest terrorist attack ever in the city.
Gunmen raided the school after shooting both a solder and a policemen down in cold blood before herding the students onto trucks and driving away, according to police and eyewitnesses.
Fourteen of the abducted students managed to escape their captors. Military spokesman Chris Olukolade then incorrectly said in a statement that all but eight of the remaining girls had been released.
After the school's principal and Borno state officials disputed that, Olukolade issued a retraction the following day. He said the earlier information had come from troops on the ground involved in the search operation and that "there was no reason to doubt this official channel."
Olukolade rejected accusations that the military was trying to deceive the public.
"Like all other citizens, the military is deeply concerned to ensure that the students are safe and freed alive," he said. "There is indeed no reason to play politics with the precious lives of the students."
Borno's state governor, Kashim Shettima, has offered 50 million naira ($300,000) for any information leading to the rescue of the missing girls.
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