Voice of America (Washington, DC)

8 May 2014

Nigeria: Girls Abduction, Crimes Against Humanity, Says Nigeria Official

An adviser to Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan says the abduction of the school girls and the increasing violence carried out by the Islamic militant group, Boko Haram, are crimes against humanity which have enraged Nigerians and the rest of the international community.

Reuben Abati says security personnel promised by the U.S administration will soon arrive in the country to help the West African country find and free the school girls abducted last month by the Islamic militants.

He says Mr. Jonathan held discussions with world leaders including Prime Minister of China, Li Keqiang, France President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry who have promised security collaboration to combat Boko Haram's terrorist activities.

"The Nigerian government has received offers of assistance from the international community; some were direct offers, others involved the Nigerian president himself requesting for support," said Abati. "We have the United State offering to support Nigeria to send a team of experts; intelligence and security experts to assist with the search of the girls... discussions are ongoing about the intervention of the Americans."

China has offered to help improve Nigeria's surveillance capabilities as well as training its military officials, Abati said, and noted the abduction of the school girls has not only been hard on the parents and their communities, but also has embarrassed the country.

"There is a shared sense of outrage within the international community about this crime against humanity, because clearly the abduction of the girls, the threats to marry them off into slavery, is an affront against humanity," said Abati.

He declined to specify the arrival date of the external experts to help the country search for the abducted girls for security reasons.

"From the tone of the conversation between Secretary of State John Kerry and President Jonathan, there was clearly a sense of urgency that this is not a task that can wait," said Abati. "The British, and the French, and China also spoke with the sense of urgency. So, you are likely to see a situation whereby there would be a great multilateral effort to bring the nightmare that this abduction of the girls has caused to an end."

Abati hailed continued security collaboration between the government of Abuja and Washington in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria.

Some security experts expressed concern about cross-border terror activities also perpetrated by the Islamic militant group. Abati says the government in Abuja is working closely with its neighboring countries to find a solution to the cross-border crimes.

"Our immediate neighbors that are involved include Cameroon, Chad and Niger. These neighboring countries work in collaboration with the security chiefs in Nigeria. What Nigeria is looking forward to and is working on is to further strengthen that cooperation," said Abati.

Some Nigerians have been critical of the administration of failing to accept international community support immediately after the girls were abducted.

But Abati says the government and the people of Nigeria are grateful for the international community's support, which he says is a significant boost to the country's efforts to find and free the abducted school girls.

"We must all be united in fighting terror in fighting criminality, and in ensuring that the evil deeds of these criminals involved in this crime against humanity does not prevail in our environment," said Abati.

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