Women vow to find 200 kidnapped girls

Distraught Nigerian mothers

Mothers and sisters of the abducted schoolgirls in northern Nigeria­ say they are ready to help search a forest where it is thought the girls are being held by Islamist­ militants.

Women’s leaders in Borno state said they would trawl the Sambisa Forest Reserve to shame President Jonathan’s forces into action. About 230 schoolgirls were abducted at gunpoint on April 14 but 43 managed to flee. No one has claimed responsibility but suspicion has fallen on the ­Boko Haram ­jihadist group, which has attacked schools in the northeast of the country.

Parents had already ventured into the forest on motorbikes hoping to find their children, but they were forced to turn back because they were too few, and unarmed, the activists said. “What stopped the security men from giving security back-up to the parents to go further into the bush?” asked Professor Hauwa Abdu Biu, the co-ordinator of the Baobab women’s rights group at a press conference in Maiduguri.

The girls are students at a secondary school in Chibok, in Borno state.

Boko Haram, which means “western education is sinful” , has been blamed for killing thousands of people in dozens­ of attacks across Nigeria.

The government said last night that 40 insurgents and four soldiers had been killed in clashes near Sambisa forest.