An Anglican Bishop and Leader of the Northern Christian Forum, Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Kana Mani, has said that it is “soul-wrecking” that the over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamic militants in April have still not been rescued two months later.
Bishop Emeritus Emmanuel Kana Mani said that the fate of the girls is a “sad commentary,” and called on the country’s leaders to work toward a peaceful coexistence between Nigerian Christians and Muslims, who are roughly evenly split in terms of numbers and across geographical lines, Codewit World News reported.
It has been two months since Islamic militants Boko Haram stormed an all-girls school in Chibok on April 14 and took over 200 students. The militants, who have been waging a war on Nigeria and the country’s Christians for close to five years, posted videos of the kidnapped girls and declared that they would be sold as child brides.
“It is now four years or five years that you arrested our brethren and they are still in your prison. You are doing many things to them and now you are talking about these girls? We will never release them until after you release our brethren,” Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau declares in one of the videos, though the Nigerian government refused a deal to swap some of the schoolgirls for captured prisoners.
At the end of May, Chief of Defense Staff Air Marshal Alex Badeh reported that the army knows where the girls are being kept, but admitted that they cannot attack the militants for fear it might endanger the girls’ lives.
The U.S. and U.K. have sent military teams into Nigeria to help with the search for the girls, but so far they remain captive.
No progress has been made in locating the girls despite international efforts, while former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo speculated that some of the girls may never come home.
Obasanjo has criticized the administration of current President Goodluck Jonathan of not acting quickly enough to try and rescue the girls, and suggested that by now they are likely split apart into groups.
“Do you think they (Boko Haram) will hold all of them together up till now?” Obasanjo asked.
“The logistics for them to do that, holding over 200 girls together, is too much,” he continued.
“If the administration had acted quickly, we could have rescued them. The best it seems we can have now is if the government agrees to negotiate, we can get half.”
Bishop Mani added that the families of the abducted girls and the entire people of Nigeria are pained by the incident, and called on Jonathan’s government to double its efforts to find and rescue the girls.