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Security, kidnappings weigh as 'Africa's Davos' opens

Published on May 7, 2014 11:43 AM
Soldiers block the road to stop the advancing civil society groups protesting the abduction of Chibok school girls during a rally pressing for the girls' release in Abuja on May 6, 2014, ahead of World Economic Forum. -- PHOTO: AFP

ABUJA (AFP) - The World Economic Forum on Africa kicks off in Abuja on Wednesday in the shadow of security fears and mounting global concern about the plight of more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by Islamist militants.

The showcase regional conference, dubbed "Africa's Davos", had been meant to turn the spotlight on the host nation, which recently became the continent's largest economy, promote it as a place to do business and reflect its growing global clout.

Instead, the build-up has been dominated by the 223 girls still missing after being abducted in the remote northeastern town of Chibok three weeks ago by Boko Haram fighters, who have since threatened to sell them as slave brides.

Boko Haram, which has been waging an increasingly deadly insurgency in Nigeria's north since 2009, is also blamed for the twin car bomb attacks that ripped through the same Abuja suburb on April 14 and on Thursday.

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