Missing schoolgirls: Nigerian President pledges ‘total war’ against Boko Haram

 

Abuja

President Goodluck Jonathan said on Thursday that he had ordered “a full-scale operation” against militants from Boko Haram and sought to reassure the parents of more than 200 schoolgirls being held by the group that their children would soon be freed.

Mr Jonathan said he had authorised security forces to use any means necessary under the law to ensure that the Islamist group, which operates in the country’s north-east, was defeated.

“I am determined to protect our democracy, our national unity and our political stability, by waging a total war against terrorism,” he said in a televised speech which did not explicitly say how the girls would be rescued.

“It will not happen overnight, but we will spare no effort to achieve this goal,” Mr Jonathan said.

 

Boko Haram militants surrounded a secondary school in the remote north-eastern village of Chibok and took away 276 girls, according to official figures.

Scores have been killed in bombings in the past month. But signalling a willingness to negotiate, Mr Jonathan said: “Our doors remain open to them for dialogue and reconciliation.”

Air Marshal Alex Badeh, the Chief of Defence Staff, said on Tuesday that the military knew where the abducted girls were but ruled out a rescue by force for fear of endangering them.

Reuters

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