Parents give up on abducted school girls, Nigerian soldiers not in sight

In National

Parents of the remaining school girls abducted by Boko Haram gunmen on Monday in Chibok, Borno State, northeast Nigeria said they have given up their efforts to rescue their children.

The parents who pooled resources to buy fuel for motor-cycles, followed the abductors tracks up till 100 kms form Chibok, but gave up following warnings that Boko Haram gunmen may kill them if they ventured further.

But the parents were perplexed that while they were on the Boko Haram trail, no single Nigerian soldier was seen, despite the advertised manhunt of the abductors by Nigeria’s military authorities.

After the goof by the military authorities over the claim that all but 8 of the 129 school girls captured by the Boko Haram from a Chibok secondary school had been rescued, the new discovery that the soldiers were not on any rescue mission, has further deepened their suspicion about the seriousness of the military in rescuing their daughters.

2 soldiers at Boko Haram front

2 soldiers at Boko Haram front

Enoch Mark, one of the parents of the abducted girls told newsmen about their shock discovery.

Mark and other locals said they had seen no signs of a military build-up and questioned the seriousness of the ongoing rescue mission.

During a nine-hour search on Thursday which extended 100 kilometres (62 miles) outside of Chibok, “we did not come across any soldiers,” Mark said, in an account supported by several other residents.

Chibok, in southern Borno, has a sizeable minority Christian population and so many of kidnapped girls were Christian but Muslim students were taken as well.

Borno’s education commissioner Inua Kubo told journalists late on Friday that 14 more girls had been found, leaving 85 girls still missing.

Some girls had escaped immediately after the kidnapping, jumping off the back of trucks as the Islamists tried to cart them away under the cover of darkness.

Others asked for permission to use the bathroom, and ran once they were a short distance away from the gunmen.

It was not yet clear how the latest group managed to flee, but Kubo said 11 were found in a town on the road that connects Chibok to Borno’s capital Maiduguri, and three others had fled back to their school.

Some of those who escaped earlier this week said the hostages were taken to the Sambisa Forest area, where Boko Haram is known to have well fortified camps.

One father said he and others decided to turn back after locals told them the insurgents were nearby and were prepared to slaughter anyone who advanced further.

“If we were armed as they are we would surely go… and face them,” said Enoch Mark, whose daughter and two nieces were among those taken.

Mark and other locals said they had seen no signs of a military build-up and questioned the seriousness of the ongoing rescue mission.

During a nine-hour search on Thursday which extended 100 kilometres (62 miles) outside of Chibok, “we did not come across any soldiers,” Mark said, in an account supported by several other residents.

Chibok, in southern Borno, has a sizeable minority Christian population and so many of kidnapped girls were Christian but Muslim students were taken as well.

Boko Haram’s name translates as “Western education is forbidden,” and attacks targeting schools and universities have been a prominent feature of its five-year Islamist uprising that aims to create a strict Islamic state in northern Nigeria.

Students have been massacred while sleeping in their dormitories, but a mass abduction specifically targeting girls is unprecedented.

A security source said there were indications that the insurgents have used female hostages as both sex slaves and cooks.

Boko Haram has categorically ruled out peace negotiations and backed away from several ceasefire offers, but Mark nevertheless pleaded with the Islamists to show compassion.

“We call on Boko Haram to release our daughters who have committed no offence against anyone,” he said.

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