KANO, Apr 30 – Protesters will hold a “million-woman march” in the Nigerian capital 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 Tuesday as a local leader claimed the hostages had been sold as wives abroad.
“May God curse every one of those who has failed to free our girls,” said Enoch Mark, whose daughter and two nieces were among the more than 100 students abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School in the Chibok area of the northeastern state of Borno.
The attack was one of the most shocking in Boko Haram’s five-year uprising, which has claimed thousands of lives across northern and central Nigeria.
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. READ: 115 Nigeria schoolgirls still missing after kidnap.
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 organisation 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.