UK & World News

  • 5 May 2014, 8:32

Nigeria's Leader Pledges To Find Kidnapped Girls

Nigeria's president has vowed to ensure the release of 276 schoolgirls abducted by suspected Islamists.

Goodluck Jonathan has been under fire for his handling of the armed attack in the town of Chibok in the northeastern Borno state - and for not speaking about the mass abduction earlier.

In a live radio and television broadcast, he said: "We promise that anywhere the girls are, we will surely get them out."

He also pleaded for the parents of the missing girls and their local communities to co-operate with the rescue efforts during what he described as a "trying" and "painful" time.

The president also revealed he had asked President Barack Obama for US help to counter the activities of the Islamic terror group Boko Haram.

He said he had also approached other countries - including France, Britain and China for assistance.

Nigerians were "justified" in their anger over the government's perceived response, he said, but assured families the girls' "disappearance" would not be another global "mystery".

And he dismissed claims his government was negotiating with Boko Haram.

But parents of the abducted girls held an emotional rally in the capital Abuja and said he had not done enough to rescue their loved ones since gunmen - believed to be Boko Haram extremists - stormed the girls' boarding school on April 14.

"They've been promising us that these girls would be found, but up until today, up until this moment I'm talking, nothing has been done," said one mother, Martha Yarama Ndirpaya.

The 16 to 18-year-olds were forced from their dormitories on to trucks and driven away by their captors.