‘Bring Back Our Girls’ blames government failures for Dapchi kidnap

Sandals are strewn in the yard of the Government Girls Science and Technical College staff quarters in Dapchi, Nigeria, on February 22, 2018. Anger erupted in a town in remote northeast Nigeria on February 22 after officials fumbled to account for scores of schoolgirls from the college who locals say have been kidnapped by Boko Haram jihadists. Police said on February 21 that 111 girls from the college were unaccounted for following a jihadist raid late on February 19. Hours later, Abdullahi Bego, spokesman for Yobe state governor Ibrahim Gaidam, said "some of the girls" had been rescued by troops "from the terrorists who abducted them". But on a visit to Dapchi on Thursday, Gaidam appeared to question whether there had been any abduction. / AFP PHOTO / AMINU ABUBAKAR

The Bring Back Our Girls group on Tuesday accused the Nigerian government of “incompetence and carelessness” for the seizure of 110 girls by Boko Haram from their hostel in the restive northeast.

The movement has been at the forefront of a campaign to free the 276 Chibok girls seized in a similar fashion in April 2014.

It gave the government a seven-day deadline to free the remaining 112 Chibok girls and the 110 seized in Dapchi last month, or else face a lawsuit on the grounds of criminal negligence.

“How terribly embarrassing it is that within four years since the abduction of 276 Chibok girls in April 2014 our country is again in the news for tragic reasons,” the group said in a statement.

“The abduction of 110 Secondary school girls of Government Girls Science and Technical Secondary School, Dapchi in Yobe State on February 19, 2018 is the worst form of a deja vu that our movement could have ever imagined at this time in our nearly four-year-old advocacy.”

The group said it was “infuriated… (by) the blunders that led to this latest abduction.”

Blaming the kidnap on the “incompetence and carelessness of our government,” the group urged the authorities to do everything possible to free the girls.

“Our movement – #BringBackOurGirls – hereby issues a 7-day (one-week) notice to the federal government to without further delay BRING BACK our 112 #ChibokGirls and 110 #DapchiGirls,” it said.

“Failure by the federal government to act immediately shall necessitate our legal actions for its criminal negligence that led to the recent abduction of our 110 DapchiGirls,” it added.

The ultimatum came a day after President Muhammadu Buhari said his government had “chosen negotiation” rather than military force free the girls.

“We are trying to be careful. It is better to get our daughters back alive,” Buhari’s office said in a press release after meeting US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on official visit in Abuja.

While some of the Chibok girls had previously been freed through negotiation and some of them were freed in a prisoner swap, 112 are still in captivity.

The April 2014 audacious abduction of the Chibok girls sparked global outrage and attracted attention to the Boko Haram insurgency.

The jihadist uprising has claimed some 20,000 lives and forced at least 2.6 million to flee their homeless since 2009.