Nigeria’s government is offering about $310,000 for information leading to the return of more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by Islamist militants as the country acknowledges increased international assistance to help find the girls, CNN reports.
During a World Economic Forum speech Thursday, President Goodluck Jonathan opined that the global outcry inspired by the kidnappings would be the undoing of the terrorist group Boko Haram’s hold on parts of Nigeria. The United States, Britain, China and France have all offered help in the search since the girls were taken from their school in mid-April.
“By God’s grace, we will conquer the terrorists. I believe the kidnap of these girls will be the beginning of the end for terror in Nigeria,” Jonathan said, according to CNN.
Jonathan’s statements came against the backdrop of mounting international outrage and a massive social media campaign that includes first lady Michelle Obama and criticism by many who see the Jonathan government’s efforts as ineffective.
Even as Jonathan made his pronouncements about Boko Haram’s future, U.S. intelligence officials announced that the girls have likely been split up and taken out of the country, CNN reports.
“We do think they have been broken up into smaller groups,” U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said, CNN reports.
While Kirby declined to explain how or why U.S. officials believe the girls have been separated, CNN notes that the U.S. is not alone in the conclusion that the girls have already been moved into neighboring countries.
“The search must be in Niger, Cameroon and Chad, to see if we can find information,” former United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the United Nation’s special envoy for global education, told CNN. “It’s vital to use the information to find the girls before they are dispersed across Africa, which is a very real possibility.”
Read more at CNN.