Nigerian officials defended its response to the kidnapping of more than 300 schoolgirls by the Boko Haram terror group despite details of a second mass abduction emerging. President Goodluck Jonathan has been under fire over accusations the government initially ignored the abduction of the girls.
The Nigerian schoolgirls have been the focal point of a massive international social media campaign, #bringbackourgirls created to demand their safe return.
“The President and the government (are) not taking this as easy as people all over the world think,” Doyin Okupe, a spokesman for Jonathan told CNN.
“We’ve done a lot — but we are not talking about it. We’re not Americans. We’re not showing people, you know, but it does not mean that we are not doing something.”
In detailing the government’s response, two special battalions have been devoted to the search for the missing girls, Okupe said. That includes 250 locations that have been searched by helicopters and airplanes.
It was unclear whether these were additional troops being dispatched or were forces already in place. More troops, he said, are also on the way.
But a father of two of the schoolgirls taken told CNN there has been no sign of the military in the days and weeks following the abduction. He accused the government of toying with parents of the missing girls, “treating them as fools.”
“Had there been these military men who went into the bush to rescue our daughters, we would have seen them,” said the father, who declined to be identified for fear of reprisals by the government and the terror group. “…We have never seen any military man there.”
276 schoolgirls remain missing, 53 have narrowly escaped. Reports confirm the deaths of two of the girls due to snakebite, and many are believed to be in neighboring Chad and Cameroon.
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