Kidnapped Nigeria girls taken to Islamist stronghold

Kidnapped Nigeria girls taken to Islamist stronghold
# 17 April 2014 01:23 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. The Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram were taken to a stronghold of the Islamist group, parents said on Wednesday, as the security forces pressed on with a search to find the hostages, APA reports quoting AFP.

The defence ministry has confirmed that 129 girls were taken by gunmen in the northeastern state of Borno late Monday, just hours after a bomb ripped through a packed bus station on the outskirts of Abuja, killing 75 people, the deadliest attack ever in the capital.

The bombing was also blamed on Boko Haram, a group whose five-year extremist uprising has shaken Africa's most populous country and top economy.

Three girls who escaped and returned to Borno's Chibok area briefed locals about the attack at the home of the area's tribal chief on Wednesday, said Lawal Zanna, whose daughter was among those abducted.

"The girls told us they were taken to the Konduga district part of Sambisa forest by their captors," said Zanna, referring to an area where Boko Haram is known to have well-fortified camps.

His account was supported by two other Chibok residents who asked that their names be withheld.

The girls said they ran after getting permission from the gunmen to use the bathroom and were helped back to Chibok by nomadic herdsmen from the Fulani ethnic group.

"My daughter is not among the three lucky girls but their escape and the news on the whereabouts of the other girls has given me more hope," Zanna told AFP.

Borno's Governor Kashim Shettima told journalists that 14 of the hostages had escaped so far and offered 50 million naira ($300,000, 215,000 euros) to anyone with information that leads to the others being rescued.

Shettima voiced outrage at Boko Haram, a group which says it wants to create a strict Islamic state in northern Nigeria.

"In Islam, women and children are spared during war," Shettima said.

President Goodluck Jonathan has summoned his top security chiefs to a meeting on Thursday to discuss "the security situation in the country" in the wake of the Abuja bombing and the kidnapping, his office said.

He expressed concern for "the plight" of those who were abducted.

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