Nigeria’s president vows to find missing girls despite disheartening possibilities


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GWEN IFILL: Secretary of State of John Kerry promised today to do everything possible to help rescue the abducted Nigerian schoolgirls, as the students’ families returned to the site of the kidnapping.

Rageh Omaar of Independent Television News reports from Nigeria.

RAGEH OMAAR: Three weeks on from an attack that has provoked global revulsion, the mothers and relatives of Nigeria’s kidnapped girls were taken back to the scene where their families’ nightmare began, the school in Chibok where the girls were taken.

For many, visiting this place was too much to bear. And yet despite all the international offers of help, their torment and the ordeal being suffered by their girls shows no sign of ending. In the capital, Abuja, this crisis has overshadowed an international economic conference being held here. Heads of state and global business leaders marked a moment’s silence in honor of the kidnapped schoolgirls.

All eyes were on Nigeria’s president, criticized so much for not doing more. He said Nigeria was facing the same kind of war the West had had to deal with.

PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN, Nigeria: Especially this time that, as a nation, we are facing attack of terrorists. And, in fact, by your presence here in Nigeria at this time, you have already supported to us win the war against terror.

(APPLAUSE)

RAGEH OMAAR: Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown called for action against Boko Haram weeks ago. He told me, with so much lost time, the world had to face up to some hard truths.

GORDON BROWN, Former Prime Minister, United Kingdom: We have to extend the search for these girls now beyond Nigeria into Cameroon, into Chad, Indonesia. And I fear that they have been dispersed across Africa, and we may never hear of them again. My message to the families is, we will now do everything in our power, even though it’s late, we will do everything in our power to try to locate these girls.

RAGEH OMAAR: Time is critical, as the kidnapping of the girls heads towards a fourth week and the sense of urgency about taking action rises by the day.

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