Nigeria’s president vows to defeat Boko Haram
Nigeria’s president has said thatÂ his countryÂ will winÂ its “war on terror”, despite another attack by armed fighters in the northeast that reportedly killed hundreds.
Speaking at the World Ecomomic Forum in Abuja on Thursday, Goodluck JonathanÂ thanked foreign nations for their support against Boko Haram, which is also accused of abducting more than 200 schoolgirls.
“As a nation we are facing attacks from terrorists,” Jonathan said. “I believe that the kidnap of these girls will be the beginning of the end of terror in Nigeria.”
Despite such pledges, Jonathan admitted on national television this week that he had no idea where the girls were.
The kidnappings and numerous other attacks by Boko Haram have overshadowed Nigeria’s hosting of the forum, an annual gathering of the rich and powerful that replicates the one in Davos, Switzerland.
Reports on Wednesday said that Boko Haram rebels haveÂ killed as many as 300 people in the town of Gamboru Ngala. It is the same area where more than 200Â schoolgirls were abducted last month.
In the latest attack reported on Wednesday nearÂ the border with Cameroon,Â gunmen reportedlyÂ razed buildings and fired on civilians as they tried to flee.
Area Senator Ahmed Zanna put the death toll at 300, in an account supported by numerous residents.
Zanna said the town had been left unguarded because soldiers based there had been redeployed north towards Lake Chad in an effort to rescue theÂ girls kidnappedÂ on April 14.
TheÂ mass abduction has sparked global outrage and offers of help from the United States, Britain, France and China.
Nigeria’s response to the kidnappings has been widely criticised, including by activists and parents of the hostages who say the military’s search operation has been inept so far.
Jonathan’s administration has sought to appear more engaged with the plight of the hostages in recent days, especially after Boko Haram chief Abubakar Shekau released a video threatening to sell the girls as “slaves”.
In a second kidnapping, another 11 girls aged 12 to 15 were seized on Sunday from Gwoza, an area not far from Chibok and also in Borno state, Boko Haram’s base.
Boko Haram’s five-year uprising has killed thousands across Africa’s most populous country, with many questioning whether Nigeria has the capacity to contain the violence.
Reward for arrest of armed group
|Missing girls parents ‘abandoned’ by Nigeria government.|
Meanwhile, police on Wednesday offered a $300,000 reward to anyone who could provide information leading to the rescue of the schoolgirls.
“The Nigeria police hereby announce a cash reward of 50m naira to anyone who volunteers credible information that will lead to the location and rescue of the female students abducted from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State,” the police said in a statement.
The police also released six phone numbers and urged Nigerians to call.
Nigerian leaders also accepted an offer by the US to send a team to the country to help search for the girls.
The US team consists of “military, law enforcement, and other agencies”, US President Barack Obama said in an interview with US broadcaster ABC, and will work to “identify where in fact these girls might be and provide them help”.
Obama also denounced Boko Haram as “one of the worst regional or local terrorist organisations”.