“About 50 young English speaking girls arrived Birao, a village located in the North of CAR on Wednesday April 30”.
Over three weeks after they were kidnapped from Borno, the whereabouts and indeed the efforts to rescue the over 250 girls has gotten more complicated.
While several news sources say the girls may have been re-grouped into smaller units and taken to neighbouring countries, President Goodluck Jonathan has said he believes the girls are still in Nigeria.
The news of the kidnap of the girls from the Government Secondary School, Chibok, on April 14 has been greeted with local and international condemnation. The ability of the Nigerian government to find the girls and subdue the insurgents from perpetrating acts of wars has been called to question especially with what has been described as a slow response to the kidnap.
President Goodluck Jonathan and his aides have denied that his response to the kidnap was less than sufficient claiming they put much efforts into finding the girls. But Mr. Jonathan himself, after intense pressure from Nigerians and the international community and two days before the World Economic Forum on Africa which held in Nigeria, said in a media chat that he did not know where the girls were. He also appealed to the parents of the girls to cooperate more with the government.
At the inception of the World Economic Forum, Mr. Jonathan decided to accept help to find the girls from the international community including the U.S.
The U.S has now come out to say that they believe the girls have been separated into smaller units
“We do think they have been broken up into smaller groups,” CNN quoted U.S. Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby, who is also the Pentagon press secretary, as saying.
Also, a May 9 report by an African news journal that focuses on francophone countries, Jeunes Afrique, said the girls were seen in Central African Republic, CAR.
“About 50 young English speaking girls arrived Birao, a village located in the North of CAR on Wednesday April 30.
“They were supervised by armed English speaking men who are former members of Seleka (a rebel group) and arrived in two trucks and a pick-up van previously seen at Ciroungouiou which is about 170 km South East of Birao.
“Upon arrival, some of the girls were fighting, some cried and some were violently rebuked in English. They were housed for several days in Birau and the original inhabitants of the house could not go in.
They left on Sunday to Monday, May 5, without any trace,” witnesses, according to Jeunes Afrique, had said.
Mr. Jonathan, at the closing of the WEF on Africa, denied these claims saying the girls are in Nigeria.
“There are stories that they have moved them outside of the country.
“But if they move that number of girls to Cameroon, people will see, so I believe they are still in Nigeria,” Mr. Jonathan said while addressing journalists on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Abuja.
The female students of the Government Secondary School in Chibok were kidnapped on April 14 in a convoy of trucks. About 53 of them have been reunited with their parents with many of those escaping from their abductors.