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Published On: Tue, Oct 14th, 2014

US to Nigeria: No going back on safe rescue of Chibok girls

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White House National Security Adviser, Susan Rice

White House National Security Adviser, Susan Rice

  • As 4 more captives escape from Boko Haram
  • FG threatens court action against campaigners

By Joy Baba – Yesufu and Mashe Umaru Gwamna, with agency report

Six months after about 270 girls were abducted in the middle of the night from their school in Chibok, Borno state, the United States has said there should be no going back on their rescue.

According to the Washington Times, White House National Security Adviser, Susan Rice said yesterday that the United States has made clear its commitment to supporting Nigeria’s efforts to bring the girls home safely. Rice said in a statement released by the White House.

 “Since then, we have aided in the investigations, including by deploying personnel on the ground, facilitated strategic communications and provided assistance to the families. These efforts are part of our broader support to Nigeria’s pursuit of a holistic counterterrorism strategy, which includes the rule of law and strengthened security institutions.”

 The United States will continue to work toward the release of all the girls who remain in captivity, Rice said, “even as we celebrate the freedom of the few who have managed to escape Boko Haram’s clutches. And we will stand with girls everywhere who seek to achieve their full potential through education and to claim the universal rights and fundamental freedoms that are their birthright.”

President Barack Obama has directed that the U.S. government do everything it can to help the Nigerian government find and free the abducted girls and, more broadly, to combat Boko Haram, in partnership with Nigeria, its neighbours and other allies.

“This support takes many forms but the goal is singular: to dismantle this murderous group,” the White House said. “The United States is assisting the Nigerian government to undertake more concerted, effective and responsible actions to ensure the safe return of those kidnapped by Boko Haram, including through on-the-ground technical assistance and expanded intelligence sharing,” the statement said.

President Jonathan told The Washington Times during a summit in August that the U.S. assistance wasn’t producing results.

In a related development, latest report has it that four of the abducted schoolgirls whisked away by the Boko Haram sect from Chibok months ago have reportedly escaped from the camp of the insurgents in Cameroun.

This development is coming six months after over 200 of them were abducted from a school dormitory in Chibok, Borno State.

Stephen Davis, the controversial British-Australian negotiator told The Times of London that the girls who are between the ages of 16 and 18 escaped from the insurgents’ den with the help of a young teenage prisoner, who also was one of those abducted by the terrorists.

Davis said the girls had to walk for about three weeks before they finally arrived at a village, looking tattered and traumatized.

The Nigerian military authority is yet to comment on the development at the time of this report.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government yesterday in Abuja threatened to prosecute civil society groups who continue to engage in protest matches to demand release of  over 200 students abducted from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok.

The Director-General of the National Orientation Agency, and Coordinator of the National Information Centre, Mr. Mike Omeri stated this while addressing journalists in Abuja.

He said FG will have no choice than to prosecute the Civil Societies, especially the one led by Oby Ezekwesili, who have insisted on invading  and occupy the State House, Abuja this week to enable them have audience with Mr. President over the ordeal of the abducted girls.

Omeri said that government’s patience was  running out over the activities of groups and individuals calling for the release of the girls as, according to him, government has been deploying every means to free them.

The DG noted that government is collaborating with neighbouring countries of Chad, Cameroon, Niger, including attempts to bring western countries into the joint effort to patrol our common borders and obtain necessary assistance to defeat Boko Haram.

He said Ezekwesili group is distracting the government and the military from carrying out the counter-insurgency operation going on in the North-East, insisting that the group’s activities have been politicised.

According to Omeri, “It is necessary to caution those involved in daily protests that there is a clear difference between credible civil agitation and subversive preoccupations”.

Meanwhile, Presidency yesterday ignored the #BringBackOurGirls campaigners who marched towards the Villa in Abuja, to seek the release of the Chibok schoolgirls.

The snub was the second from the president since the girls were seized six months ago.

The protesters had announced Monday they will meet the president Tuesday after their first attempt in May failed as police barred them from reaching the Aso Rock presidential villa.

The team was halted at the Eagles Square before a presidential delegation, led by the government’s secretary, Pius Anyim, addressed them.

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