ABUJA (AFP) - Supporters of the more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram Islamists two months ago vowed Saturday to scale up the pressure on the Nigerian government to rescue them.
Noisy street demonstrations in Abuja and other cities have become a regular feature of the campaign to keep the issue in the public eye two months after the girls were abducted from a school in the remote northeastern town of Chibok on April 14.
The coordinator of the “BringBackOurGirls” campaign, Hadiza Bala Usman, regretted the lack of progress in efforts to rescue the hostages from Boko Haram extremists.
“Progress for us is the girls being returned, and the girls are not returned. Of course we are not satisfied. We still see a situation where ... not one girl has been rescued by the Nigerian military,” she told AFP during a new protest in Abuja.
“We shall upscale our advocacy and work towards ensuring that this issue on the ground is priority for the Nigerian government until they are rescued,” she said.
Tsambido Hosea Abama, chairman of Chibok community residents in the nation’s capital, said for his part that he would “continue to cry until our daughters are back and alive.”
“My message is for the government to come to our rescue,” he added.
The social media campaign #BringBackOurGirls has attracted worldwide support, from ordinary people to US First Lady Michelle Obama and Pope Francis, and demonstrations have been held around the globe.
Families and supporters of the missing girls have been critical of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s response to the abduction, accusing him of being slow to react and indifferent to the girls’ plight.
Nigeria has been forced to accept foreign help, including from the United States, Britain, France and Israel, in the search for the girls.