Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan to meet Chibok parents

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan is due to meet for the first time parents of the girls abducted by militant Islamists 100 days ago.

He has been under intense pressure to meet the parents after being accused of handing the crisis badly.

Parents pulled out of a meeting with him last week amid a political row but say Tuesday’s meeting should go ahead.

The parents of 11 of the girls have reportedly died since their abduction by the Boko Haram group.

The abduction of the more than 200 schoolgirls sparked global outrage.

Boko Haram has offered to free the girls in exchange for the release of its fighters and relatives held by the security forces.

The government has rejected this.

The US, UK, France, China and Israel have been helping in operations to secure the release of the girls, who are believed to be held in the Sambisa forest, near Nigeria’s border with Cameroon.

The girls were abducted from their boarding school in the north-eastern town of Chibok on 14 April.

Last week, Mr Jonathan agreed to meet 12 parents and five girls who escaped shortly after being seized by the militants, following a request by Pakistani rights campaigner Malala Yousafzai.

The Chibok community called off the meeting at the last minute, saying it had been organised in a hurry, so there was not time to consult with all the parents.

Mr Jonathan accused the #BringBackOurGirls campaign group of playing politics and derailing the meeting.

#BringBackOurGirls was a global campaign launched on social media to secure the release of the girls.

Obiageli Ezekwesili, a former government minister and staunch critic of Mr Jonathan, is a leading member of the group.

Seven parents were killed during a raid by Boko Haram on Kautakari, a village close to Chibok, earlier this month, the Associated Press (AP) quotes a health worker as saying.

Another four parents have died of heart failure, high blood pressure and other illnesses blamed on the trauma caused by the abductions, Chibok community leader Pogu Bitrus told AP.

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