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William Stark,Regional Manager for Africa
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Not Enough: Boko Haram Conducts Follow-Up Kidnapping to Mass-Abduction of 243
8 Girls Abducted, 5 Villagers Reported Dead in Attack
International Christian Concern
International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Islamic insurgency and U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) Boko Haram is suspected in the abduction of eight girls from a small village in Northern Nigeria's Borno State.Monday, Boko Haram released a video claiming responsibility for the April 14 raid of a Chibok secondary school, during which more than 240 schoolgirls were selectively abducted.
According to eyewitness accounts, a large number of suspected armed Boko Haram militants entered Warabe village in Gwoza, Borno State, Monday night. After firing their weapons into the air to announce their presence, the armed men reportedly proceeded to loot villagers' cattle and other property, kidnap eight girls between the ages of 12 and 15, and allegedly killed five villagers who attempted to stop them. The abducted girls and stolen goods were then loaded into the backs of military-grade trucks which, according to eyewitnesses, were camouflaged in imitation of the Nigerian army.
The attack occurred just hours following the release of a video featuring Boko Haram's leader, Abubakar Shekau, claiming the group's responsibility for the mass-kidnapping of 243 schoolgirls, as reported by the parents of those abducted. In the video, Shekau also declared his intention to sell the girls into domestic and sexual servitude, saying, "There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women," according to a CNN translation.
In response to the video's release Monday, United Nations human rights spokesman, Rupert Colville, stated, "We warn the perpetrators that there is an absolute prohibition against slavery and sexual slavery in international law. These can under certain circumstances constitute crimes against humanity....That means anyone responsible can be arrested, charged, prosecuted, and jailed at any time in the future."
Boko Haram is allegedly holding captive more than 230 girls, in addition to those abducted Monday. A list of 178 girls compiled by Evangelist Matthew Owojaiye of the Old Time Revival Hour Church in Kaduna and released by the Northern States Christian Elders Forum (NOSCEF), an affiliate of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Monday detailed names, religious affiliations, and photographs, claiming 90 percent of those listed are professed Christians.
According to Fox News, the U.S. announced it will assemble a team of military and law enforcement personnel to be dispatched to Nigeria to "aid in the search" for those abducted. According to statements made by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and the president's public schedule, President Obama, Vice President Biden and Secretary Kerry held a meeting closed to the press Tuesday afternoon to discuss the issue.
Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is a sin," continues to pursue its goal of carving out a separate Islamic state from Nigeria's northern regions to establish its ultra-conservative interpretation of Sharia law with brutal vengeance. The insurgency, a U.S.-designated FTO, often targets schools, government institutions and religious minorities-mostly Christians-as part of a broader strategy to create a purely Islamic society in northern Nigeria. In 2014 alone, it's estimated more than 2,500 innocents have been murdered by Boko Haram, many of whom are known Christians whose communities have been pillaged and churches set ablaze.
ICC's Regional Manager, William Stark, said, "Boko Haram is a terrorist organization who has committed systematic kidnappings, usually for the purpose of collecting on ransoms, throughout its recent history. That said, the mass-kidnapping of more than 250 school girls, some as young as nine years old, to sell them to human trafficking rings operating between Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad is despicable. Of great concern to us are recent reports that of the abductees identified, 90 percent are professed Christians. There's no doubt Boko Haram systematically targeted Chibok, a Christian stronghold in Nigeria's majority Muslim North, in conducting this mass-kidnapping. While ICC continues to join the international community in calling for a return to a peaceful Nigeria, we recognize the Nigerian State's inability to provide the security necessary to ensure prosperous living for the nation's Christians and other minority religions and applaud the United State's commitment to send personnel to assist with the search. We can only hope the U.S. and international community continue to provide broad assistance to Nigeria so that it can effectively respond to an increasingly emboldened Boko Haram."
For interviews, contact William Stark, Regional Manager for Africa: RM-AfricaAsia@persecution.org
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