TIME Nigeria

Nigerian President: Missing Schoolgirls Likely Still in Country

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan
Afolabi Sotunde—Reuters Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan speaks to the media on the situation in Chibok and the success of the World Economic Forum in Abuja May 9, 2014.

President Goodluck Jonathan said he believes the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram have not yet been trafficked across the border. His government has drawn global wrath for its sluggish response to the kidnapping of over 250 girls by the Islamic militant group

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said Friday he believes the hundreds of schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram last month are still in the country and have not been sent across the border, despite rumors to the contrary.

Jonathan’s government has drawn global wrath for its sluggish response to the April 14th kidnapping of over 250 schoolgirls by the Islamic militant group. The president’s comments come after some reports the girls had been brought across the border to Cameroon.

There are stories that they have moved them outside of the country,” Jonathan said, Reuters reports. “But if they move that number of girls to Cameroon, people will see, so I believe they are still in Nigeria.”

We are also working with the experts that will use remote sensors to see them (insurgents) wherever they are. So that basically says they are within the Sambisa area,” Jonathan said, referring to the Sambisa forest near the school where the girls were taken.

Jonathan’s statement appears intended to refute rumors that the girls may have been sold as brides to men in neighboring Chad and Cameroon. The rumors were bolstered by a video of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau admitting his group had abducted the girls and saying “I will sell them in the market, by Allah.”

The White House has sent a team of military and law enforcement officials to Nigeria to help locate the missing girls.


Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team