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New order to free abducted schoolgirls Parents urge Nigeria to get international help

ABUJA, Nigeria, May 4, (Agencies): Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan met through the night with security, school and state officials and issued a new directive that “everything must be done” to free the 276 girls held captive by Islamic extremists, one of his advisers said Sunday. It was the first time the president met with all stakeholders, including the principal of the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School in northeastern Nigeria where the girls and young women were kidnapped in a pre-dawn raid April 15, presidential adviser Reuben Abati told reporters.

Nigerians’ outrage at the failure to rescue the students and protest marches last week in major Nigerian cities as well as New York City have spurred to action Jonathan’s government, which many see as uncaring of the girls’ plight. “The president has given very clear directives that everything must be done to ensure that these girls must be brought back to safety,” Abati said. The police said last week that the actual number abducted had risen to more than 300 and that 276 remain in captivity. It said 53 of the students managed to escape their captors. None have been rescued by the military which initially said it was in hot pursuit of the abductors.

Meanwhile, desperate parents of the more than 200 abducted schoolgirls in Nigeria called on Saturday for authorities there to bring in foreign help to secure their release. Frustrated by the lack of progress so far in trying to free their daughters, the parents called on Nigerian authorities to use support from other countries. “By all means, lets get the support we need from global players,” a former World Bank vice-president, Obiageli Ezekwesili, said in a televised interview. She was speaking at the venue of a sit-in protest organised by dozens of mothers and women in Abuja in support of the release of the girls. “What these women are saying is that they want their daughters freed,” added Ezekwesili. The women vowed to sustain their pressure on the Nigerian authorities to secure the release of 223 schoolgirls still being held by suspected Boko Haram Islamists

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