United States Joins Search For Over 200 Kidnapped Nigerian Girls

Nigerian kidnapping

Nigeria – UNICEF reports that the terrorist organization known as Boko Haram has kidnapped 8 more school girls Monday after last month’s abduction of over 200 girls from Nigeria’s Northeastern village of Warabe. “They were many, and all of them carried guns. They came in two vehicles painted in army colour. They started shooting in our village,” said Lazarus Musa, a resident of Warabe, to Reuters via telephone.

Following the April mass kidnapping there has been a major backlash from Nigerians and the international community to have the girls returned to their families. The U.N Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated that the targeting of schools and school children is a grave violation of international humanitarian law. “Schools are, and must remain, safe places where children can learn and grow in peace,” last April.

The Obama Administration offered to help in the effort to find the missing girls and that offer had been accepted. He told the BBC “We have already sent in a team to Nigeria… a combination of military, law enforcement, and other agencies who are going in, trying to identify where in fact these girls might be.”

UNICEF released a statement saying, “UNICEF calls on the abductors to immediately return these girls unharmed to their communities, and we implore all those with influence on the perpetrators to do everything they can to secure the safe return of the girls — and to bring their abductors to justice.”

The AFP recently obtained a video showing the leader of the terrorist organization, Abubaker Shekau, claiming responsibility for the kidnappings. The group also claims they will sell the more than 200 children as “brides.” He says in the video, “god has commanded me to sell.”

In a press statement regarding the video  Rupert Coville, spokesman for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights stated, “[We] warn the perpetrators that there is an absolute prohibition against slavery and sexual slavery in international law,” the OHCHR spokesperson warned,  “These can, under certain circumstances, constitute crimes against humanity.” He added that there was no statute of limitations for such grave international crimes, including slavery and sexual slavery, “Anyone responsible could be arrested and prosecuted at any time in the future”.