Nigerian police offer reward of N50,000,000 ($300,000)
for information leading to rescue of abducted schoolgirls.
They were kidnapped more than three weeks ago by armed
Islamist militants from their boarding school in the north-
eastern state of Borno.
Another 11 girls were taken on Sunday from villages near the
militants’ hideout in a nearby forest.
A team of US experts has been sent to Nigeria to help in the
Earlier this week, the Boko Haram group admitted that its fighters had abducted the girls in the middle of the night from their school in the town of Chibok on 14 April.
Its leader, Abubakar Shekau, threatened to “sell” the students, saying they should not have been in school in the first place, but rather should get married.
The group, whose name means “Western education is
forbidden” in the local Hausa language, has staged a wave of
attacks in northern Nigeria in recent years, with an estimated
1,500 killed in the violence and subsequent security crackdown this year alone.
A statement from the police said the 50m naira reward would
be given to anyone who “volunteers credible information that
will lead to the location and rescue of the female students”.
Six telephone numbers are provided, calling on the general
public to be “part of the solution to the present security
“The police high command also reassures all citizens that any
information given would be treated anonymously and with
utmost confidentiality,” the statement said. The abductions
have prompted widespread criticism of the Nigerian government and demonstrations countrywide.
The BBC’s Mansur Liman in the capital, Abuja, says many are
questioning why it has taken so long for such a reward to be
offered. The girls are mostly aged between 16 and 18 and
were taking their final year exams.
The governments of Chad and Cameroon have denied
suggestions that the abducted girls may have already been
smuggled over Nigeria’s porous borders into their territory.
On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama described the
abductions as “heart-breaking” and “outrageous” and said he
hoped the kidnapping might galvanise the international
community to take action against Boko Haram.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron will be speaking by phone to Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday
afternoon regarding the abductions. Security has been
tightened in Abuja as several African leaders and Chinese
Premier Li Keqiang are attending the World Economic Forum
for Africa in the city, following two recent attacks there blamed on the insurgents.