UK & World News

  • 8 May 2014, 23:12

Girls' Kidnap Will Be 'End Of Nigeria Terror'

The abduction of more than 200 girls in Nigeria will be the "beginning of the end of terror" there, says Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Nigerian capital Abuja, he also thanked the international community for its support and said "by God's grace we will conquer the terrorists".

Mr Goodluck has been criticised for his response to the kidnapping, and for not acting sooner to recruit help.

His words come as military and intelligence experts from around the world head to Nigeria to help in the search.

The UK, France, China and the US are among the countries lending their support.

Britain is sending a small team of advisers - possibly including some military officers - to help with planning and coordination. However, they will not take part in operations on the ground.

The US is flying out a group including experts in intelligence, law enforcement and hostage negotiations, with fewer than 10 military troops going.

Prime Minister David Cameron told Parliament the kidnapping was "an act of pure evil".

"There are extreme Islamists around our world who are against education, against progress, against equality and we must fight them and take them on wherever they are," he said.

The 276 girls were abducted from a boarding school in the village of Chibok in Borno state, north Nigeria, on April 14.

Islamist group Boko Haram claimed responsibility and its leader, Abubakar Shekau, has threatened to sell the girls "on the market".

Some of the group have already reportedly been trafficked to neighbouring Chad and Cameroon.

A further 11 girls, aged 12 to 15, were taken from the northeastern village of Warabe on Sunday.

The search is focussed around the huge Sambisa Forest - the 'hideout' of Boko Haram which extends to some 60,000 square kilometres - three times the size of Wales.

Boko Haram is also thought to be behind the killing of up to 300 people reported to have been killed on Monday in the northeastern Nigerian town of Gamboru Ngala.

A witness told the AFP agency that fighters in armoured trucks and motorcycles overran the town, leaving it "littered" with bodies.

A social media campaign to raise awareness of the kidnapping has ramped up in recent days, with the Twitter hashtag #BringBackOurGirls being promoted by the likes of US First Lady Michelle Obama.

Malala Yousafzai, the schoolgirl who survived being shot by the Taliban for promoting girls' education, has also spoken out over the kidnapping.

The Nigerian government has now put up a 50m Nigerian naira (182,000) reward for information leading to the location and rescue of the female students.

Sky News Special Correspondent Alex Crawford, in the Nigerian capital Abuja, said the situation is likely to be a key concern for politicians at the World Economic Forum, currently being held in the city.

"It's very poor advertising for Nigeria. This international outcry, the fact it's taken so long for the Nigerians to react is not going to play well.

"There's going to be a lot of whispering and diplomatic chat behind the scenes to try to galvanise them into action.

"Of course, there is a great deal of anxiety and anger right here in Nigeria against the government and what's perceived to be their sluggish response."

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