VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis urged President Donald Trump to be a peacemaker at their highly anticipated first meeting on Wednesday, and Trump promised he would not forget the pontiff’s message. Under clear blue skies, Trump, who exchanged sharp words with the pope during the U.S. election campaign last year, received a tribute from […]
The parents of nearly 200 missing Nigerian schoolgirls continue to pray for their release
ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigerians on Friday marked three years since the mass abduction of nearly 300 schoolgirls by Boko Haram extremists amid anger that government efforts to negotiate their freedom appear to have stalled.
Activists were rallying in the capital, Abuja, and commercial hub Lagos to urge President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to do more to free the nearly 200 schoolgirls who remain captive.
“It is still a nightmare to me. It is still fresh as if it happened last night,” said Rebecca Samuel, whose daughter Sarah remains missing. “The government is trying, but I believe they can do more than what they are doing.” She wept and pleaded for a solution.
After a few of the girls escaped on their own, Nigeria in October announced the release of 21 of the Chibok schoolgirls after negotiations with the extremist group. It said another group of 83 girls would be released “very soon.”
No one has been freed since then. The government this week said negotiations have “gone quite far” but face challenges. It refused to give details, citing security reasons. Buhari on Friday said Nigeria is “willing to bend over backwards” to secure the schoolgirls’ release.
“It is deeply shocking that three years after this deplorable and devastating act of violence, the majority of the girls remain missing,” a half-dozen independent experts for the United Nations, who visited Nigeria last year, said in a statement this week.
The failure of Nigeria’s former government to free the girls sparked a global Bring Back Our Girls movement and was a factor Buhari’s 2015 election win over former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The schoolgirls from Chibok village are among thousands of people abducted by the Nigeria-based Boko Haram as it continues to threaten parts of the northeast and has spread into neighboring countries.
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