Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


US urged to act after threats to sell schoolgirls

06 May 2014, 06:46

Kano - Calls for the United States to help find and free the hundreds of schoolgirls kidnapped in Borno State are mounting after Boko Haram claimed the abduction and threatened to sell the girls as "slaves".

"I abducted your girls," the group's leader Abubakar Shekau said in a 57-minute video obtained by AFP Monday, referring to the 276 students kidnapped three weeks ago from their boarding school in Chibok.

"I will repeat this: Western education should fold up. I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah," Shekau said, adding that his group was holding the girls as "slaves", in comments that stoked international outrage.

US officials said they were worried many of the students, who are aged 16 to 18, had now been smuggled across Nigeria's borders into other countries which could complicate the so-far fruitless efforts to find them.

"We cannot close our eyes to the clear evidence of barbarity unfolding before us in Nigeria," said Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar, her voice breaking as she addressed the Senate.

As anger and frustration escalates in Nigeria at the government's failure to find the girls, six US senators have introduced a resolution calling for action.

"We and our African allies should do everything to help the Nigerian government rescue innocent girls and return them to their families," Senator Dick Durbin, one of the resolution's sponsors, said in a tweet.

No US military help

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf condemned the abduction as "despicable" and said Washington was standing by to assist "in any way we think that is appropriate".

However, she declined to outline specific US help and dismissed suggestions that the US would deploy military assets on the ground.

Undersecretary of State Sarah Sewall is on her way to Nigeria and will meet with senior officials in the coming days to discuss the crisis, Harf said.

President Goodluck Jonathan has been under mounting pressure to act since gunmen stormed the girls' school on April 14, forcing them from their dormitories on to trucks and driving them into the bush.

Fifty-three of the girls managed to escape from the militants but 223 were still being held, police said last Friday.

In his first public comments on the abduction on Sunday, Jonathan pledged that the government would find the girls and bring them home.

"This is a trying time for this country. It is painful," he said, adding that he had sought international assistance in tackling the country's security challenges.

Hours before the girls were taken,Abuja was hit by its deadliest ever attacks, a car bomb on the outskirts of the city that killed 75 people, also claimed by Boko Haram.

A copy-cat bombing in the same spot on May 1 has put the country further on edge as Abuja prepares to host a World Economic Forum summit that opens on Wednesday and includes a visit from Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

'I will sell them'

In the latest video, Shekau is seen dressed in combat fatigues standing in front of an armoured personnel carrier and two pick-up trucks mounted with sub-machine guns.

Six armed men stand beside him with their faces covered.

"I abducted a girl at a Western education school and you are disturbed. I said Western education should end. Western education should end. Girls, you should go and get married," he said.

"I will marry off a woman at the age of 12. I will marry off a girl at the age of nine," said the shadowy militant leader, speaking in Hausa,Arabic and English.

Unconfirmed reports from local officials in Chibok indicated the girls had been taken across borders to Chad and Cameroon, and sold as brides for as little as $12.

International attention on the plight of the missing students was initially slow but has grown quickly in recent days, in part because of a social media campaign - #bringbackourgirls.

One of the campaign's leaders, Naomi Mutah, was arrested on Monday during a meeting with First Lady Patience Jonathan for falsely claiming she was a mother of one of the abducted girls.

Another of the group's leaders, Hadiza Bala Usman, said Mutah was representing mothers who could not make it to Abuja for the meeting with Jonathan and that the first lady had ordered her arrest.

President Jonathan's office denied that the first lady was involved. The reported arrest was widely criticised on social media and Mutah has since been released, Usman told AFP.

Unprecedented security has been put in place for the World Economic Forum meeting, but the kidnapping and twin attacks in Abuja have added to long-standing doubts over the government's ability to contain the insurgency.

For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...