ABUJA- Nigeria’s president said Thursday that Boko Haram’s mass abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls would mark a turning point in the battle against the Islamists, as world powers joined the search to rescue the hostages.
President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration has struggled to contain Boko Haram’s bloody five-year uprising and experts have questioned whether Nigeria can end the violence without help.
“I believe that the kidnap of these girls will be the beginning of the end of terror in Nigeria,” Jonathan told delegates at the World Economic Forum, thanking Britain, China, France and the United States for their offers of help to rescue the hostages.
The four world powers have pledged varying levels of assistance to track down the girls whose April 14 mass abduction from a school in Chibok in northeastern Borno state has sparked global outrage.
Jonathan’s comments echoed those of US President Barack Obama earlier in the week.
Obama said the Chibok kidnappings “may be the event that helps to mobilise the entire international community to finally do something against this horrendous organisation”.
The abductions have also led to a growing social media campaign with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls joined by public figures and celebrities.
“Our prayers are with the missing Nigerian girls and their families. It’s time to #BringBackOurGirls,” wrote US First Lady Michelle Obama under a picture retweeted more than 48,000 times.
US actress Angelina Jolie on Thursday blamed a “culture of impunity” for the kidnapping adding that the world had to “make sure this stops happening and that this is not something that people feel they can get away with…”