Even as the Vatican and heads of state from numerous countries were calling for the swift return of 234 kidnapped girls in Nigeria, the terrorist group responsible kidnapped yet another eight Christian girls.
BosNewsLife is reporting that, Abubakar Shekau, head of Nigeria’s notorious Boko Haram terrorist group, announced that the group had captured more Christians earlier this week and vowed to continue doing so.
“I abducted your girls,” Shekau said in widely circulated video. “By Allah, I will sell them in the marketplace.”
Shekau who is known as a “fearless loner”, is said to have a photographic memory and is part intellectual and part terrorist.
He is also known for his heartless brutality.
“I enjoy killing anyone that God commands me to kill — the way I enjoy killing chickens and rams,” he said after a 2012 attack in Kano, Nigeria, that killed more than 180 people.
In February, his gunmen stormed a secondary school in northeast Nigeria where they locked the door to the boys’ dormitory then set it on fire, burning everyone alive. Those who tried to escape were gunned down. In total 40 young boys were killed.
The April 14 attack on another government sponsored secondary school in Chibok, also located in northeastern Nigeria, resulted in 234 girls being taken captive.
“The overwhelmingly Christian crop of abductees was then loaded onto the backs of military-grade trucks and driven deep into the Sambisa Forest located on the Nigerian-Cameroonian border,” reports International Christian concern, a Christian persecution watchdog group. “Though an estimated one to two dozen of those abducted have reportedly escaped, search parties comprised of Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) vigilantes and parents continue to search alongside the Nigerian Army for the remaining missing girls.”
Members of the terrorist group are believed to hiding in abandoned military bunkers inside the remote forest which is said to eight times larger than Yellowstone National Park and full of poisonous snakes.
The lack of results of government efforts to free the girls has sparked massive protests within the country which have drawn international attention.
On Tuesday of this week, President Barack Obama called the kidnapping “heartbreaking” and “outrageous.”
“You’ve got one of the worst regional or local terrorist organizations in Boko Haram in Nigeria,” he told ABCNews. “They’ve been killing people ruthlessly for many years now and we’ve already been seeking greater cooperation with the Nigerians – this may be the event that helps to mobilize the entire international community to finally do something against this horrendous organization that’s perpetrated such a terrible crime.”
The U.S. Department of State is offering a reward of up to $7 million for any information leading to Shekau’s location and is sending in a team of experts to assess the situation on the ground in Nigeria and advise local officials on how to safely rescue the girls.
The French government indicated yesterday that it was sending in security service agents to help track down the terrorists and their hostages. China has also offered satellite intelligence to help the Nigerians pinpoint the location of the girls and the United Kingdom is also planning to send in a team of experts.
Meanwhile, the Vatican is calling upon the world to pray for the safe release of the girls and has condemned the actions of Boko Haram.
“The denial of any kind of respect for life and for the dignity of the human person, even the most innocent, vulnerable and defenseless calls for the strongest condemnation, arouses the most heartfelt feelings of compassion for the victims and instills a sense of horror for the physical and spiritual suffering and the incredible humiliation they have suffered,” said Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi.
He said the Holy See was joining its voice to those of the world who are calling for the liberation of the girls and their safe return to a normal life.
“We hope and pray that Nigeria, thanks to the commitment of all who are in a position to help, may find the way to end the situation of conflict and hateful terrorism which is a source of incalculable suffering.”
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