Schoolgirls take part in a protest in Lagos on May 5 (Photo: REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye)
Eight more school girls have been kidnapped from a village in northeast Nigeria, police and local residents told Reuters earlier today.
The new round of kidnappings took place in the village of Warabe, and follow the abduction of more than 200 other school girls in the village of Chibok by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram in April.
A resident of Warabe told Reuters that the militants came armed with guns, and opened fire on the village during raid. The girls were then taken away on a truck loaded with looted livestock and food.
Yesterday, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau released a video claiming responsibility for the first kidnapping, and threatening to sell the girls as slaves. Boko Haram (whose name loosely translates to "Western education is forbidden") has been waging a campaign for years to establish Islamic law in Nigeria, and is particularly active in the country's northeast.
In the days since the kidnapping, protests have broken out across the country and beyond, as government leaders have been accused of being slow to respond to the crisis. Late last week, President Goodluck Jonathan set up a committee to figure out a rescue strategy, and expressed his confidence that the military would find the kidnapped girls — a confidence not shared by many residents in Chibok. And on Monday, reports emerged that First Lady Patience Jonathan had ordered leaders of the protests be jailed (a claim her spokesperson denied to AP).
Today, the U.S. government announced that it's dispatching a team of military officials and hostage negotiators to help with the recovery effort.
An extensive AP article published today details how the Boko Haram gunmen were able to kidnap so many students — local officials, it turns out, had received a warning of the militants' approach two hours before, but soldiers were not dispatched in time — and provides context on the prospects of recovery.
The Christian Association of Nigeria released a list of 178 of the kidnapped girls (the total is thought to be as high as 276), which they told the Toronto Star was collected from relatives. You can see those names here.