Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hague: Kidnapping of 200 Girls in Nigeria Is Disgusting and Immoral

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hague: Kidnapping of 200 Girls in Nigeria Is Disgusting and Immoral

Article excerpt

Byline: Joseph Watts Political Correspondent

WILLIAM HAGUE today condemned the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls by Islamist militants in Nigeria as "disgusting and immoral".

The Foreign Secretary went on to pledge assistance to Nigeria's government to help find the pupils. Extremist group Boko Haram has said it carried out the kidnapping and that it intends to sell the girls, aged 16 to 18.

The crime has sparked outrage from the White House, which has also offered help to try to rescue them, and protests outside the Nigerian Embassy in London. It comes ahead of an international summit in the capital next month aimed at tackling sexual violence in war zones.

Mr Hague used his Twitter account today to say that Boko Haram's treatment of the girls as "spoils of war" was a "disgusting and immoral practice".

He said that it was crucial that the perpetrators were made to be accountable and brought to justice.

In total 273 girls were abducted from their boarding school in the north-eastern Nigerian town of Chibok on April 14. They were taken away in trucks by the militant group. While around 50 have reportedly escaped, some 220 are still missing.

The leader of Boko Haram, which means "Western education is forbidden", confirmed in a video that his group had taken the girls. It has previously attacked numerous educational institutions in northern Nigeria.

Abubakar Shekau said the girls should not have been in school in the first place but should get married.

He said in the video: "God instructed me to sell them, they are his properties and I will carry out his instructions."

Reports last week said some girls had been forced to marry their abductors, who paid a bride price of PS7. Others are reported to have been taken across borders into Cameroon and Chad.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is facing growing criticism over the kidnapping and has admitted security forces still do not know where the girls are being held. …

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