Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has pledged to secure the release of over 200 schoolgirls recently abducted by gunmen amid mounting criticism of Abuja’s handling of the issue.
“We promise that anywhere the girls are, we will surely get them out,” Jonathan told Nigerian media on Sunday, adding, “This is a trying time for this country… it is painful.”
The Nigerian leader added that his government is seeking help from foreign states, including the US, France, Britain and China on the country’s security matters, stressing that Nigerians are “justified if they expressed their anger against government.”
The Nigerian government has also asked a number of neighboring African countries for assisting Abuja in its ongoing rescue operations, according to Jonathan.
Jonathan further called on the nation to support the government’s efforts to rescue the abducted girls and said “their disappearance cannot be another mystery the world cannot resolve.”
In mid-April, armed men abducted 276 girls from a secondary school in the town of Chibok in the Borno state. Witnesses say the assailants arrived at the school on motorcycles and trucks.
Last week, hundreds of women held rallies in at least three cities to vent their anger at security forces for their failure to rescue the girls.
Also on Saturday, dozens of Nigerian demonstrators took to the streets in New York and urged Abuja to take more action to free the girls.