NIGERIA: Negotiate Rescue of Chibok Girls, Cardinal Onaiyekan Says

ABUJA APRIL 15, 2016 (CISA) – The Nigerian government has to carry out negotiations to secure the release of over 200 schoolgirls who were kidnapped in the town of Chibok by Boko Haram militants on April 14 2014, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja has said.

“There have to be negotiations sooner or later. The government needs to go beyond a military response rescue these girls and the thousands of other innocent civilians who are being held by the Islamic group,” he said.

The cardinal was speaking on the second anniversary of the kidnapping of the Chibok girls on April 14 and in the wake of the release of a video by Boko Haram purporting to show 15 of the kidnapped schoolgirls, reported Vatican Radio.

The footage, apparently filmed in December, shows 15 girls in black robes identifying themselves. The kidnapping of the 276 girls triggered the global social media campaign #BringBackOurGirls, involving US first lady Michelle Obama and a host of celebrities.

But despite their efforts, most of the girls are still missing. The footage of the girls is the first to be seen since May 2014, when around 100 of them were shown in a video.

It was broadcast after being handed to the Nigerian government. Cardinal Onaiyekan further said that there is widespread embarrassment among Nigerians on this anniversary over the continuing failure to locate and rescue the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls despite a global media campaign.

“We are all very embarrassed and very ashamed that over 200 girls could disappear like this,” he said.

The cardinal however applauded recent advances by the military against the Boko Haram stating that he has learnt that many of the people displaced from their homes by the Boko Haram militants in North Eastern Nigeria a couple of years ago are “now returning to their villages” as a result.

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