Posted by News Express | 17 May 2014 | 3,781 times
Relatives of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls who have been missing for more than a month after being kidnapped by Boko Haram say they have lost faith in Goodluck Jonathan’s government to rescue the captives.
They voiced anger and despair after President Jonathan yesterday cancelled a visit to their home town, citing security concerns.
As the international effort to find and rescue the girls gathered momentum, with military and intelligence resources from the US, UK, France, Israel and Canada pouring into Nigeria, and the #bringbackourgirls social media campaign exceeded 1m tweets, there was mounting criticism of President Jonathan Goodluck’s slow response to the crisis.
In Chibok on Friday, the home town of the missing girls, families said they had lost faith in the government to do everything possible to rescue their daughters, sisters and nieces.
Many relatives had gathered at the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, from which the teenagers were abducted in a night raid on April 14, to greet Jonathan on his first visit to the area during the crisis.
“You begin to question what could be more important to the president than the lives of these students,” Dr Allen Manasseh, whose 18-year-old sister Maryamu Wavi was abducted from the school, told the Guardian of London.
“The parents were hoping he would come with some information for them about where the girls may be and what efforts are being done to recover them, but instead to be told he is not coming was not easy for them. It’s not an easy thing to have a missing child.”
He said the families were upset that it had taken more than a month for Jonathan to schedule a visit to Chibok, but that to have promised to come and then postponed without adequate explanation had further diminished their faith in the authorities.
Bulus Mungo Park, a civil servant volunteering with a local vigilante force protecting Chibok from Boko Haram and the uncle of two missing girls, said the villagers were extremely disappointed.
“The parents were happy that our president would come and see for himself. He was our last resort,” he said. “And now we don't know what is happening. We’re hoping he can still come some time.”
Following the release of a video by Boko Haram earlier this week, showing around 130 of the abducted teenagers, Mungo Park escorted a group of girls who had managed to escape and relatives of those still missing to the nearby town of Maiduguri to identify the captives.
“They were able to identify about 75 by name,” he said. The faces of other girls were known to their school colleagues. “Soon we will know all their names.”
Manasseh said his sister was not among the girls in the video released. “It makes me very worried for her because I do not know whether she is alive or where she might be.”
•Adapted from a Guardian of London report. Photo, courtesy of Stringer/Reuters, shows one of the students who escaped from Boko Haram identifying her schoolmates from a video released by the militants.
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