Nigerian President Says He Is Behind Effort To Free Abducted Students

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The police said last week that the actual number abducted had risen to more than 300 and that 276 remain in captivity. It said 53 students managed to escape their captors. None have been rescued by the military, which initially said it was in hot pursuit of the abductors.

Some of the girls have been forced into “marriage” with their abductors and were paid a nominal bride price of $12, according to a federal senator from the area whose report is unverified.

Some of the young women have been taken across Nigeria’s borders to Cameroon and Chad, parents said last week, quoting villagers. Child marriage is common in northern Nigeria, where it is allowed under Islamic law that clashes with the country’s Western-style constitution.

Anguished parents in Chibok town, who have lost confidence in the government and military, have been begging for international help.

In northeastern Nigeria, police Sunday morning foiled an attack by suicide bombers who had packed a pickup vehicle with explosives and petrol, the Defense Ministry said.

Police arrested one of the culprits, who said the target was a police post in the center of Damaturu, the capital of Yobe state, said spokesman Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade.

In a further indication of security threats confronting Nigeria, the U.S. Embassy on Friday warned Americans that “groups associated with terrorism” may be planning “an unspecified attack” on a Sheraton hotel in Nigeria’s commercial center, Lagos. The city, on the Atlantic Ocean, has never been attacked, though police last year arrested six suspected extremists on popular Bar Beach.

The Sheraton hotel chain has two locally owned franchises in the southwestern city of about 20 million people. A duty manager at the $350-a-night Sheraton in Ikeja suburb, near the international airport, said he was unaware of any threat. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to reporters. There was no response from the other Sheraton on the outskirts of Victoria Island, a posh residential and business center.

(Photo: AP)

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