Nigeria's Buhari hopeful Chibok girls will be saved
08 Jan 2017 - 13:22
LAGOS, Nigeria: Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday said he remained committed to ensuring that the schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram militants are reunited with their families "as soon as practicable".
"I salute the fortitude of the distraught parents. As a parent also, I identify with their plight. Days turned to weeks, weeks turned to months, months turned to years, and today, it is 1,000 days. The tears never dry, the ache is in our hearts,” Buhari said in a statement released by his office.
"But hope remains constant, eternal, and we believe our pains will be assuaged. Our hopes will not be shattered, and our hearts will leap for joy, as more and more of our daughters return. It is a goal we remain steadfastly committed to," the president added.
He also commended the activists who have been on the vanguard for the rescue of the girls, saying the country's intelligence and security forces would not relent until the girls were freed from their captors.
A total of 276 schoolgirls were taken on the night of April 14, 2014 by Boko Haram fighters in the country's northeast Chibok town. Eighty-one -- including 21 whose release was negotiated in October 2016 -- are now free and in government care, with the latest one being freed Thursday along with her six-month-old baby.
Some 57 of the girls escaped on the night of the abduction, followed by Maryam Nkeki who escaped with a 20-month-old baby about two years later, while the Nigerian government negotiated the freedom of another on Oct. 21.
Another one had also escaped her captor since the kidnapping that sparked international outrage and raised the profile of the militant group.
At least 195 of the girls are still expected back, according to official records.