Secretary of State John F. Kerry pledged American help, Saturday, to return hundreds of Nigerian girls abducted by militants more than two weeks ago.
“The kidnapping of hundreds of children by Boko Haram is an unconscionable crime,” Kerry said. “We will do everything possible to support the Nigerian government to return these young women to their homes and hold the perpetrators to justice.”
Nigerian authorities said more than 250 girls are still missing after the mass abduction of teenagers from schools on April 14.
Some of the girls were reportedly sold into forced marriage with their abductors, believed to be members of the militant Islamic movement known as Boko Haram. The group, whose name means “Western education is sinful,” has not taken public responsibility for the abduction.
“We are working to strengthen Nigeria’s institutions and its military to combat Boko Haram’s campaign of terror and violence,” Kerry said during a lengthy speech here on American policy and objectives in Africa.
“I’ve seen this scourge of terror across the planet and so have you,” Kerry said. “They don’t offer anything,” he said of movements like Boko Haram. “They just tell people, ‘you have to behave the way we tell you to.’ Our responsibility and the world’s responsibility, is to stand up to that kind of nihilism.”
Hundreds of women protested in at least three Nigerian cities this week to express their outrage that the girls have not been found, the Associated Press reported.