Search for Nigerian Girls Generates Global Support
The United States and other governments around the world are offering to partner with Nigeria in its efforts to locate the hundreds of school girls kidnapped three weeks ago by the Muslim terrorist group Boko Haram.
The news comes as the group is being blamed for an attack on a Nigerian village Wednesday that left more than 100 people dead.
Wednesay's assault followed on the heels of a threat by Boko Haram's leader to attack more schools and abduct more young women.
"There is a market for selling humans," Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said Monday in a video obtained by Agence France-Presse. "Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women."
One of 53 girls who managed to escape recalled the night of the kidnapping.
"We thought they were soldiers," she said. "And they asked us to board the vehicle that headed toward Emboa and my friends, and I jumped from the vehicle and ran back home because we realized they didn't look innocent."
Boko Haram's main goal is to establish an Islamic caliphate in Nigeria that would operate under Sharia law. The terror group has killed thousands of Christians and Muslims.
Despite the direct connection to radical Islam, some social activists in the West are suggesting that poverty is at the core of the kidnappings.
But President Barack Obama is taking a different approach, sending intelligence advisers to assist the Nigerian government in its rescue effort.
"They've accepted our help -- a combination of military, law enforcement, and other agencies -- who are going in trying to identify where in fact these girls might be and provide them help," the president said.
But the delays in tracking down Boko Haram have made some experts like Bronwyn Bruton, deputy director of the Atlantic Council's African Center, pessimistic the girls will be found.
"The more time goes by I think the less likely it is that they will be rescued," she said.
In addition, there are fears that some of the girls may have been sold as brides already.
That grim possibility has hit home with leaders around the world, including British Prime Minister David Cameron.
"I'm the father of two young daughters and my reaction is exactly the same as every father or mother in this land or in the world," Cameron told Britain's lower House of Commons Wednesday.
"This is an act of pure evil," he said. "It's united people across the planet to stand with Nigeria to help find these children and return them to their parents."
The U.S. Senate passed a resolution Tuesday condemning the kidnappings, and lawmakers held a moment of silence on Capitol Hill.
But heartfelt symbolism is likely to fall short when dealing with a group that is conducting what it believes is a holy war.