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Nigeria's president pledges to free schoolgirls, end 'terrorism'

Published on May 8, 2014 8:19 PM
 

ABUJA (REUTERS) - Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan pledged on Thursday to find more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by Islamist rebels, saying their rescue would mark "the beginning of the end of terrorism" in the country.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) being hosted in the capital Abuja, Jonathan thanked foreign nations including the United States, Britain, France and China for their support in trying to rescue the girls, who were kidnapped from a secondary school on April 14.

He thanked delegates for coming despite the danger posed by militants, then quickly moved on to a speech about creating jobs in African economies. "As a nation we are facing attack from terrorism," Jonathan told delegates. "I believe that the kidnap of these girls will be the beginning of the end of terrorism in Nigeria." France became the latest nation to offer help on Wednesday, saying it was boosting intelligence ties with Nigeria and sending security service agents there to tackle Boko Haram, the militant group which claimed the mass kidnapping.

With more than 4,000 troops operating between Mali to the west and Central African Republic to the east, Paris has a major interest in preventing Nigeria's security from deteriorating and has warned that Boko Haram could spread north into the Sahel.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan speaks at the opening session at the World Economic Forum in Abuja on May 8, 2014. Mr Jonathan pledged on Thursday to find more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by Islamist rebels, saying their rescue would mark "the beginning of the end of terrorism" in the country. -- PHOTO: AFP 
 
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