The world has been captivated by a tragic story involving over 200 schoolgirls who were kidnapped by terrorists in Nigeria three weeks ago. The search is on for their possible whereabouts and forces from the U.S. and France have pledged to help Nigeria find them.
There have been unconfirmed reports which say that the girls were split into groups and sent to different places. A new report from a French news outlet seems to support that theory.
According to Jeune Afrique, residents of Birao, a small town in the Central African Republic, claimed to have seen about 50 young girls escorted by armed men on Wednesday, April 30th. Here’s a deeper translation of the story, which was written in French, from InfoNubia:
- The women were guarded by heavily armed men, who spoke English, and also members of the former (CAR) rebel Seleka.
- The convoy of two trucks and a pickup was previously seen at Tiroungoulou (about 170 kilometers southwest of Birao) and perhaps Chad.
- Upon arrival, some were frightened, cried and were violently rebuked in English. The girls and their guardians were then housed for several days in a house.
- The group reportedly left the scene on the night of Sunday to Monday, May 4 to 5, without a trace.
There are also rumors that Boko Haram, the group who took credit for kidnapping the schoolgirls, is requesting a ransom and the release of fellow members who have been detained in exchange for the girls.
These rumors come after news surfaced that Nigeria refused international help when the mass abduction first occurred before it became a worldwide trending topic, according to the AP:
The United Kingdom, Nigeria’s former colonizer, first said it was ready to help in a news release the day after the mass abduction on April 15, and made a formal offer of assistance on April 18, according to the British Foreign Office. And the U.S. has said its embassy and staff agencies offered help and were in touch with Nigeria “from day one” of the crisis, according to Secretary of State John Kerry.
Yet it was only on Tuesday and Wednesday, almost a month later, that President Goodluck Jonathan accepted help from the United States, Britain, France and China.
The delay underlines what has been a major problem in the attempt to find the girls: an apparent lack of urgency on the part of the government and military, for reasons that include a reluctance to bring in outsiders as well as possible infiltration by the extremists.
This week, President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria also confirmed what many have speculated: the Nigerian government may be penetrated with insurgents from Boko Haram in the executive, legislative and judicial branches as well as the police and armed forces.
Michelle Obama also gave this Mother’s Day address on Saturday and connected it with the ongoing tragedy in Nigeria.
Finally, here is an unconfirmed list of names involved in the mass abduction.