Nigeria’s president said that Boko Haram’s mass abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls would mark a turning point in the battle against the Islamists, as world powers joined the search to rescue the hostages.
President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration has struggled to contain Boko Haram’s bloody five-year uprising and experts have questioned whether Nigeria can end the violence without help.
“I believe that the kidnap of these girls will be the beginning of the end of terror in Nigeria,” Jonathan told delegates at the World Economic Forum, thanking Britain, China, France and the United States for their offers of help to rescue the hostages.
The four world powers have pledged varying levels of assistance to track down the girls whose April 14 mass abduction from a school in Chibok in northeastern Borno state has sparked global outrage.
Jonathan’s comments echoed those of President Barack Obama earlier in the week.
|Nigerians protest the government’s failure to rescue the abducted Chibok schoolgirls in Yola, Nigeria, Thursday. (EPA-Yonhap)|
Obama said the Chibok kidnappings “may be the event that helps to mobilize the entire international community to finally do something against this horrendous organization.”
Most of the insurgents’ recent attacks have targeted the remote and impoverished northeast, but two car bombings on the outskirts of the capital Abuja in the last month underscored the grave threat the Islamists pose.
Jonathan had hoped that the World Economic Forum would highlight Nigeria’s economic progress and its recent emergence as Africa’s top economy, but headlines have remained focused on Boko Haram.
Holding the summit in Abuja despite the recent violence amounted to victory over the extremists, the Nigerian leader said.
“If you had refused to come because of fear the terrorists would have jubilated,” he told the more than 1,000 delegates from over 70 countries. (AFP)