Nigeria's Buhari orders probe into Chibok girls' kidnappings

January 15, 2016, 9:16am

Paul Wallace, Bloomberg News
Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari ordered an investigation into how 219 schoolgirls were kidnapped in the northeastern town of Chibok in April 2014 by Boko Haram militants, an incident that sparked an international social media campaign.

National Security Adviser Babagana Munguno will name the members of the panel, Garba Shehu, a presidential spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement on Thursday. Earlier, Buhari met some parents of the girls, most of who are still missing, in Abuja, the capital.

“The investigation will seek to, among other things, unravel the remote and immediate circumstances leading to the kidnap of the girls by Boko Haram terrorists as well the other events, actions and inactions that followed the incident,” Shehu said.

The head of Nigeria’s military, Gabriel Olonisakin, said that security forces had the “ability” to rescue the girls and that “intelligence is delicate and we don’t want to​ do anything to jeopardize” their lives.

Boko Haram has killed thousands of people and displaced more than 1.5 million during a six-year campaign to establish Islamic law in Africa’s biggest economy. The group was beaten back from territory it held early last year but continues to carry out suicide bombings and hit-and-run attacks. Buhari, who came to power in May 2015, has made it a priority to end the insurgency.

The Chibok abduction led to the #BringBackOurGirls campaign championed by Michelle Obama and thousands of others.

Boko Haram killed 6,644 people in 2014, more than any other militant group, according to data by the Global Terrorism Index compiled by the Institute for Economics and Peace. The Islamist fighters took the lives of at least 3,500 civilians in the first nine months of 2015, human rights group Amnesty International says.