Officials: Nigerian president to visit Chibok village of kidnapped schoolgirls | News | DW | 15.05.2014
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Officials: Nigerian president to visit Chibok village of kidnapped schoolgirls

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan will visit the village of Chibok, according to government officials. It would be his first trip to the remote community since more than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, Nigerian government officials have told news agencies that President Jonathan will stop in Chibok on Friday, as he makes his way to Paris for a summit on the Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

But according to a report by Voice of America, the coordinator of Nigeria's National Information Center has denied that Jonathan plans to visit the village.

"I am not sure of the report and its sources," Mike Omeri said. "As coordinator of the National Information Center, I don't have information; therefore, I doubt its authenticity."

Parents of the more than 200 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram have accused Jonathan of not doing enough to find their children. The girls were abducted a month ago from their school in Chibok, a remote village in northeastern Nigeria.

"Now matter how this crisis is resolved, Dr. Jonathan is unlikely to emerge as a president who can be trusted to lead Nigeria through the challenges that lie ahead," columnist Olatunji Dare wrote in the Tuesday edition of the independent daily The Nation.

International support

The Twitter campaign #BringBackOurGirls has galvanized international support for Abuja's search efforts. So far, the US, Britain, France, Israel and Spain have offered surveillance aircraft, intelligence and advisors to Nigeria.

But some officials in Washington have also been outspoken in their criticism of Jonathan's response to the kidnappings. Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that Nigeria had been "tragically und unacceptably slow" to begin searching for the girls.

In a video released on Monday, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau proposed freeing the girls in exchange for the release of jailed militants. The footage showed around 130 of the children.

Jonathan has rejected the idea of a prisoner swap. The Islamist militant group has threatened to sell the girls into slavery if the government doesn't comply with its demands.

slk/jr (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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