Wednesday, April 30, 2014

"million-woman" against Boko Haram (an appeal)

The Nigerian school girls abducted by Boko Haram apparently have been sold as slaves to jihadists. This is not exactly a surprise. A million-women march may help put pressure on a complacent government. But chances of recovering the girls (especially if they have crossed international borders) is close to zero.

We @ BP would like to appeal to our readers to highlight this important event on social media and hope for success in a difficult cause.
Protesters will hold a "million-woman march" in the Nigerian capital (Abuja) on Wednesday over the government's failure to rescue scores of schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram Islamists two weeks ago. Angry Nigerian parents lashed out at the government on Tuesday as a local leader claimed the hostages had been sold as wives abroad.

The outrage that followed the mass abduction has been compounded by disputes over how many girls were seized and criticism of the military's search-and-rescue effort. Borno officials have said 129 girls were kidnapped when gunmen stormed the school after sundown on April 14 and forced the students — who are between 12 and 17 years old — onto a convoy of trucks. Officials said 52 have since escaped. Locals, including the school's principal, have rejected those numbers, insisting that 230 students were snatched and that 187 are still being held hostage.

Mark told AFP that his wife has hardly slept since the attack, lying awake at night "thinking about our daughter".
An organization called Women for Peace and Justice has called for a "million-woman protest march" in the capital Abuja on Wednesday to demand that more resources be committed to securing the girls' release.

While the group is unlikely to rally a crowd of that size, support for the movement has been growing on Twitter under #BringBackOurGirls.
Pogo Bitrus, leader of a Chibok elders group, told AFP that locals had been tracking the movements of the hostages with the help of "various sources" across the northeast. "From the information we received yesterday from Cameroonian border towns our abducted girls were taken ... into Chad and Cameroon," he said. The girls were then sold as brides to Islamist fighters for 2,000 naira ($12) each, Bitrus added.

There was however no independent confirmation of his report and the defence ministry did not immediately answer calls seeking comment.

Some of the girls who escaped have said the hostages were taken to Borno's Sambisa Forest area, where Boko Haram has well-fortified camps. Locals have scoured the bushlands of the remote region, pooling money to buy fuel for motorcycles and cars to conduct their own rescue effort, saying they have no confidence in the military's search.

"The free movement of the kidnappers in huge convoys with their captives for two weeks without being traced by the military which claims to be working diligently to free the girls is unbelievable," Bitrus told AFP.

Nigeria deployed thousands of additional troops to the northeast last year as part of an offensive aimed at crushing Boko Haram, but security experts say the military lacks the troops needed to fully cover the region.
Dozens of Borno women clad in black staged a protest on Tuesday in front of Nigeria's parliament.


Protest leader Naomi Mutah told three senators who received the group that they did not know the whereabouts of the girls, saying some might have crossed over to Chad. "Our grievance is this: For the past two weeks and this is the third week, we have not heard anybody talking to us," said Mutah. "They are suffering in the bush. Let them (authorities) help us to free them," another protester said.

In a motion Tuesday, the senate urged the government and security agencies to seek the cooperation of other countries and the UN security council in the rescue effort.



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