Nigeria Concludes Kidnap Investigation; More Than 200 Schoolgirls Still Missing

Brig. Gen. Ibrahim Sabo of Nigeria submits the final report, officially closing the investigation into the whereabouts of more than 200 girls abducted by Boko Haram rebels from their Chibok village school on April 14.

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Pupils hold signs as members of Lagos-based civil-society groups hold rally calling for the release of missing Chibok schoolgirls at the state government house in Lagos, Nigeria, May 5, 2014.

PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images

Nigeria closed its investigation of the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls on Friday, with little progress made in recovering the girls, who were kidnapped by Boko Haram militants from their secondary school in northeast Borno state during exams April 14, according to Reuters.

Brig. Gen. Ibrahim Sabo submitted the final report, which noted that the 57 girls who did manage to escape shortly after their abduction have been reunited with their families, according to Reuters.

“We are … pained that the schoolgirls remain in captivity,” Sabo said in a statement. “The hostage situation that this represents is obviously delicate.”

Despite the Twitter hashtag campaign Bring Back Our Girls, which voiced outrage and drew global attention to the initial abduction of the girls, more than 200 of them remain missing from their Chibok village, a number unchanged since their capture.

The kidnapping stunned Nigerians, even though they have grown accustomed to the mounting carnage in an increasingly violent five-year-old Islamist insurgency in the north.

The government has become a focus of finger-pointing for its failure to protect the girls and recover them, and the kidnapping is a sour point for President Goodluck Jonathan in advance of elections to take place next year.

Sabo has tried to deflect criticism of the government, saying, “Getting the girls out, and safely, too, is by far more important than the publicity generated by the blame game that has tended to becloud the issue,” according to Reuters.

In what may draw further criticism of Jonathan, Sabo suggested that the findings of the fact-finding groups appointed by the president remain confidential to protect national security.

The Chibok kidnapping and other bloody assaults—such as the bombing last week of a venue where fans had gathered to watch a World Cup soccer match, killing at least 14 people, which some suspect may involve Boko Haram—have increased doubts about Abuja’s ability to suppress the bloodthirsty militant group.

The well-armed sect aims to forcibly create a radical Islamist state in the predominantly Muslim north. Boko Haram means “Western education is a sin” in the northern Hausa language, according to Reuters.

Read more at Reuters.

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