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Nigeria leader orders action on kidnapping of schoolgirls; escapees recall ordeal

Published on May 4, 2014 10:57 PM
 
A man carries a placard to campaign for the release of schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram Islamists more than two weeks ago during a worker's rally in Lagos on May 1, 2014. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday, May 4, 2014, ordered a stepped-up drive to free 223 schoolgirls whose abduction by suspected Islamists has ignited a global outcry, as two girls who escaped told of their dead-of-night ordeal. -- PHOTO: AFP

ABUJA (AFP) - Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday ordered a stepped-up drive to free 223 schoolgirls whose abduction by suspected Islamists has ignited a global outcry, as two girls who escaped told of their dead-of-night ordeal.

Mr Jonathan has come under mounting pressure since gunmen believed to be Boko Haram extremists stormed the girls' boarding school on April 14, forcing them from their dormitories onto trucks and driving them into the bush.

Anger at his government's ineffectual response has fuelled protests at home and abroad, including in New York where dozens of Nigerians staged a demonstration on Saturday demanding that more action be taken.

"The president has given very clear directives that everything must be done to ensure that these girls must be brought back to safety," his spokesman Reuben Abati told reporters after closed-door talks on the mass abduction.

 
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