US Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday vowed that Washington would do “everything possible” to help Nigeria deal with the abduction of the schoolgirls, who number 223, according to the latest police figure.
“Let me be clear. The kidnapping of hundreds of children by Boko Haram is an unconscionable crime,” Kerry said in a policy speech in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
“We will do everything possible to support the Nigerian government to return these young women to their homes and hold the perpetrators to justice. That is our responsibility and the world’s responsibility,” he said.
The United States, he added, is “working to strengthen Nigeria’s institutions and its military to combat Boko Haram’s campaign of terror and violence”.
The mass kidnapping is one of the most shocking attacks in Boko Haram’s five-year extremist uprising, which has killed thousands across the north and centre of the country, including 1,500 people this year alone.
The twin car bombings in Abuja have fuelled fears that the Islamist group may be shifting its focus outside of its historic base in Nigeria’s remote northeast.