US Secretary of State John Kerry gave promise to the government of Nigeria that they will do "everything possible" to help disarm and defeat the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram after receiving word that the terrorist group stormed an all-girl school campus, kidnapping more than 200 of the students.
"Let me be clear. The kidnapping of hundreds of children by Boko Haram is an unconscionable crime," Kerry said on Saturday in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, as Al Jazeera reports.
The girls were abducted on April 15th by gunmen who stormed the city of Chibok, setting fire to several homes until they reached the state-owned secondary school, where witnesses report an organized assault on the facility by Boko militants. Trucks quickly pulled up as young girls fled for their lives, but few escaped the nightmare.
Nigerian police have confirmed 223 of the 276 girls that were captured are still in the hands of the terror organization, and parents fear that time may be running out for the girls still held captive. Boko Haram is widely known for its intolerance towards the rights of women, what they consider an evil Western invasion, and have been openly public about how they see women as nothing more than cooks and sex slaves. A spokesperson for the Islamic group said they would continue the attacks as long as the Nigerian government refuses to fall in line with traditional Islamic tradition.
"[The U.S. government is] working to strengthen Nigeria's institutions and its military to combat Boko Haram's campaign of terror and violence". Kerry said.
John Kerry's words are a relief to the parents of the abducted girls who feel their government is all talk but no effort. While the Nigerian government set up a committee to discuss what actions could be taken, nearly 3 weeks of debate has shown no progress in garnering the release of the children. This prompted mothers of the girls to go global and seek aid from outside the country from anyone who would listen.
"We need to sustain the message and the pressure on political and military authorities to do everything in their power to ensure these girls are freed," protest organiser Hadiza Bala Usman told AFP.
"We need the support of other nations. We cannot just continue to be big brother for nothing," shouted a female protester.
Former World Bank vice president, Obiageli Ezekwesili, agree with Secretary of State John Kerry and feels other nations, especially the United States, should help free the girls and take down a growing global threat.
"By all means, lets get the support we need from global players," Ezekwesili stated in a televised interview while attending a protest in Abuja in for release of the girls that was organized by several dozen mothers who had their daughters taken in the abduction. "What these women are saying is that they want their daughters freed."
Emboldened by Kerry's words, the women vowed to keep pressure on the Nigerian government until all the missing girls come home. The lack of action has prompted Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan to meet with Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima, as well as the head teacher of the school before holding a televised chat on "current national issues and developments" Sunday evening. Goodluck's office said he would "respond to the most significant questions received before or during the programme," to which Huffington Post journalist Ola Awoniyi was happy to offer the first query.
"- 'What are they doing?' -"
This attack by Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sinful," is just the latest in a number of shocking assaults that have rocked the country, and their kill count has already risen above 1500 souls this year alone. John Kerry and those involved in Washington believe the true goal of Boko Haram is to take control of the oil production there, the largest facility in Africa, by forcing the Nigerian government to adopt their extreme Islamic ideals into governmental policy.
Mass kidnapping "grotesque" - says @JohnKerry to @NickKristof @nytimes - #BringBackOurGirls http://t.co/F5Fsxp9B0r pic.twitter.com/6iaeqwFXBN
— Andrew Stroehlein (@astroehlein) May 3, 2014
"The kidnapping of hundreds of children is an unconscionable crime" ~@JohnKerry. U.S. to help Nigeria abductees http://t.co/FIRHVzoDaG
— Susan McPherson (@susanmcp1) May 3, 2014