Local Nigerian community steps up to help kidnapped school girls
ATLANTA (CBS46) -
Nearly 300 girls are missing after gunmen bust into their school in Nigeria and kidnapped them.
Islamic extremist terrorist group, Boko Haram, has now publicly claimed responsibility.
The Nigerian community in metro-Atlanta is stepping up to help.
"This is very sad," said Ndubueze Alaka, of the Alliance of Nigerian Organizations of Georgia in Atlanta. "And we are urging the government to put all the resources, every resource to make sure these kids are reunited with their families," Alaka told CBS46 reporter Donna Rapado.
In newly-released video, Boko Haram's leader said the school girls it kidnapped are now slaves.
He said the group would sell them in the market, by Allah. And he added, girls should be married out as early as age nine.
The name "Boko Haram" means "Western education is sinful". Nigerian parents now fear sending their children to school.
Earlier this year, the group slaughtered 50 teenage boys at school.
"They're not looking to rule, they're looking to terrify, and they're looking to prey on people," African extremism expert, Bronwyn Bruton, told CBS News.
"And, they're looking to make money through brutalizing the population and through various criminal activities," Bronwyn added.
"It's not a Nigerian issue anymore. It's a human issue because this can happen to anybody," said Alaka. "These are little kids that went to school and never expected to be abducted."
That children's lives are at risk is devastating. But, Alaka said he is glad the world now knows about Boko Haram.
"It's a terrorist group and it should be treated as every terrorist group in the world," he said.
The White House called the kidnappings a tragedy and pledged to help the Nigerian government.
Alaka said metro-Atlanta's Nigerian community will rally at Olympic Centennial Park Thursday at 5:30 p.m. and hold vigil there Friday at 6 p.m.
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