Mike Omeri, Director-General of Nigeria's National
Orientation Agency, speaks during a weekly briefing on
updates on security and the kidnapped schoolgirls, in
Abuja. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
Nigeria has wrapped up its inquiry into the abduction of
more than 200 schoolgirls by militants with little progress to
show, reporting almost none had been freed after the initial
kidnapping some girls escaped from.
Submitting the final report, Brigadier General Ibrahim Sabo
said 219 girls remained at large, a total virtually unchanged
since Boko Haram militants stormed their secondary school in
northeast Borno state on April 14 to kidnap them.
A total of 57 girls, almost all of whom escaped shortly after
the abduction, have been reunited with their families, he
added. The kidnapping of the teenage girls taking exams in
Chibok village sparked global outrage for its sheer
The government's failure to rescue the girls, or protect them
before their abduction, has become a political liability for
President Goodluck Jonathan ahead of elections next year.
"We are ... pained that the schoolgirls remain in captivity,"
Sabo said in a statement. "The hostage situation that this
represents is obviously delicate."
The Chibok kidnapping and other increasingly bloody attacks
by Boko Haram have underscored Abuja's inability to stamp out
the militant group, which aims to carve out a radical
Islamist state in the mostly Muslim north.
In what could raise the ire of Jonathan's critics, Sabo
recommended the findings of the fact-finding group appointed
by the president remain confidential for national security
Sabo also seemed to try to deflect expected criticism from
"For the Chibok schoolgirls, little will be achieved through
finger-pointing," he said in his statement.
"Getting the girls out, and safely, too, is by far more
important than the publicity generated by the blame game that
has tended to becloud the issue."
The attack shocked Nigerians, even as they have grown used to
hearing about atrocities in an increasingly bloody
five-year-old Islamist insurgency in the north.
From being a religious movement opposed to Western culture -
Boko Haram means "Western education is a sin" in the northern
Hausa language - the sect has emerged as a well-armed
insurrection with a growing thirst for blood.
This week at least 14 people, including small children, died
when a bomb tore through a venue where fans had gathered to
watch a World Cup soccer match.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, although
Islamic militants are widely suspected.