Updated May. 08, 2014 06:40
The international community is belatedly moving to rescue Nigerian teenage girls kidnapped by Islamist extremist group Boko Haram after the group abducted 11 more in addition to 276 girls it said it would sell as slaves.
U.S. President Barack Obama said in an interview with NBC on Tuesday that the U.S. will do everything it can to help Nigeria rescue the kidnapped girls by sending a team of military and law enforcement personnel and hostage negotiators. He said the abduction is "hearbreaking" and "ruthless." He stressed, "This may be the event that helps to mobilize the entire international community to finally do something against this horrendous organization thats perpetrated such a terrible crime."
British Foreign Secretary William Hague also said his country will help Nigeria rescue the girls whom the group treats as the "spoils of war." London has promised to send an aircraft equipped with a state-of-the-art radar system and elite troops that rescued British citizens abducted overseas. The U.S. and Britain plan to use satellites or aircrafts to search a forest in Nigeria`s northeastern border area which is suspected to be the militant group`s stronghold.
Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from their boarding school in Chibok, in the northern state of Borno, on 14 April. In a video released on Monday, the group said it would sell the girls as slaves and threatened to kidnap more. The UNICEF said armed gunmen from the militant group abducted an additional 11 girls at ages 12 to 15 from nearby villages. BBC reported that the AK-27 rifle-toting militants raided the villages in two trucks, looting livestock and food.
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights said that selling or buying the girls as sex slaves can constitute crimes against humanity.
"Slavery, sexual slavery under international law can be considered as crimes against humanity. That means anyone responsible can be arrested and charged and prosecuted and jailed at any time in the future. So, just because they think they are safe now, they will not necessarily be in two years, five years, 10 years` time," the commission warned.
In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Wole Soyinka, a Nigerian author and a Nobel laureate, called for international support, saying that the Nigerian government, which is incapable of dealing with Boko Haram, is "acting like children."