11 more girls kidnapped in Nigeria

Updated: 2014-05-08 07:11

By Agencies in Maiduguri and Kano, Nigeria (China Daily)

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11 more girls kidnapped in Nigeria

One of the mothers of the missing Chibok girls cries during a rally by civil society groups pressing for the release of the girls in Abuja on Tuesday. Pius Utomi Ekpei / Agence France-Presse

Police offer reward; Washington plans to send team to help in search

Suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped 11 more girls from two villages in northeastern Nigeria on Tuesday night as the United States made plans to help search for more than 200 schoolgirls seized by the militant group last month.

"We're going to do everything we can to provide assistance to them," US President Barack Obama told NBC News in an interview on Tuesday.

"In the short term, our goal is obviously to help the international community, and the Nigerian government, as a team to do everything we can to recover these young ladies."

In a separate interview with ABC News, Obama called the kidnappings heartbreaking and outrageous.

Nigerian police offered a $300,000 reward on Wednesday to anyone who could give information leading to the rescue of the abducted girls.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau threatened in a video released to the media on Monday to sell the girls abducted from a secondary school on April 14 "on the market".

Tuesday's kidnappings took place in two nearby villages in Borno state, close to a Boko Haram stronghold.

US offer accepted

Police and residents said eight girls aged 12 to 15 were kidnapped overnight from the village of Warabe. A local government official told AFP that the gunmen then stormed the nearby village of Wala and abducted three more girls.

11 more girls kidnapped in Nigeria

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan welcomed the US offer to send a team to support the government's efforts to find the girls, the Obama administration said on Tuesday.

Obama told ABC the kidnappings "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".

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters the US was sending an "interdisciplinary team" including military personnel to help in the search.

The kidnappings by the Islamists, who say they are fighting for an Islamic state in Nigeria, have shocked a country long inured to the violence.

They have also embarrassed the government before a three-day World Economic Forum meeting on Africa in Abuja that began on Wednesday.

Nigerian officials had hoped the event would highlight their country's potential as Africa's hottest investment destination since it became the continent's biggest economy after a GDP recalculation in March. The forum has instead been overshadowed by the crisis over the girls, whose whereabouts remain a mystery.

That has thrown the government's failings on national security into the spotlight just when it sought to parade its achievements such as economic stability to top global business people and politicians.

Boko Haram, the main security threat to Africa's leading energy producer, is growing bolder and appears better armed than ever.

In a separate attack early on Monday, suspected Boko Haram gunmen shot or hacked to death at least 13 people in a raid on a market town in the northeast, a survivor said.

April's mass kidnapping occurred on the day a bomb blast, also claimed by Boko Haram, killed 75 people on the edge of Abuja, the first attack on the capital in two years. Another bomb in roughly the same place killed 19 people last week.