Friday, May 9, 2014

Nigerian schoolgirl kidnappings could have been prevented, warning ignored

The Nigerian Army was warned that nearly 300 schoolgirls were about to be kidnapped, Amnesty International claims.
The kidnapping could have been prevented, Amnesty spokeswoman Susanna Flood told the Associated Press.
The BBC reported the international human rights group also said the army was slow to react when the girls were taken on April 14. Amnesty said the army had at least four hours warning.
Nigerian officials said they doubted the Amnesty report is true.
The kidnapping of several hundred girls in northern Nigeria has become a worldwide story as the kidnappings led to a Twitter hashtag, #bringbackourgirls. Millions have Tweeted.
The Amnesty news release said: Damning testimonies gathered by Amnesty International reveal that the Nigerian security forces failed to act on advance warnings about Boko Haram’s armed raid on the state-run boarding school in Chibok which led to the abduction of more than 240 schoolgirls on 14-15 April.
After independently verifying information based on multiple interviews with credible sources, the organization today exclusively revealed that the Nigerian security forces had more than four hours of advance warning about the attack but did not do enough to stop it.
The US and France have sent teams to help find the girls, who the group, Boko Haram, says it will sell as slaves for as little as $12 because it is the will of Allah.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who is up for re-election next year, has been widely criticized for saying little about the incident until it became a story on American and European television. The government now is offering a $300,000 reward for information leading to the rescue of the girls, most ages 12-15.
The New York Times said the UN refugee agency was reporting a thousand people were leaving northern Nigeria every week because of the kidnappings and bombings.
The Amnesty news release also said: “The fact that Nigerian security forces knew about Boko Haram’s impending raid, but failed to take the immediate action needed to stop it, will only amplify the national and international outcry at this horrific crime.
“It amounts to a gross dereliction of Nigeria’s duty to protect civilians, who remain sitting ducks for such attacks. The Nigerian leadership must now use all lawful means at their disposal to secure the girls’ safe release and ensure nothing like this can happen again.
While the case has even become an issue in American politics, with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accusing the Nigerian government of being derelict, it also can be seen as the kind of reaction police and security forces have given to pending massacres throughout the world.
At the same time law enforcement is being accused of brutality, including some unnecessary killings, investigations of school massacres and deaths at the Boston Marathon show clues were ignored.
The Daily Beast said Clinton, considered the leading Democratic candidate for president in 2016, is accused of having refused request to name Boko Haram as terrorist group while she was secretary of state.
The group first appeared in 2009 and is accused of killing several thousand people, mostly in bombings.

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