News Wrap: More girls abducted in Nigeria after militants went door-to-door, reports say
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JUDY WOODRUFF: There’s word today that Islamist militants in Nigeria have abducted more girls. Police and witnesses said it happened in the northeast, where men went door to door taking girls ages 12 to 15. The militants are already holding some 270 girls they abducted last month.
Jonathan Miller of Independent Television News reports on the day’s developments.
JONATHAN MILLER: Twenty-two days of terror, kidnapped, held captive and incommunicado by insurgents, and still no word, with the rising fury of the Nigerian public, a government with no idea where they are.
WOMAN: We want our girls back now, now.
JONATHAN MILLER: There’s now been time to fully translate yesterday’s crazed 57-minute-long rant of the supposed leader of Boko Haram, the al-Qaida linked militants who claim they’re the ones who kidnapped the girls in a midnight raid on their school.
ABUBAKAR SHEKAU, Leader, Boko Haram (through translator): Allah should separate us from the unbelievers of the world. Leave Western education, ladies. Go and get married. Leave Western education. I’m the one that captured your girls. I will sell them in the market. Allah has commanded me to sell.
JONATHAN MILLER: It’s all a bit embarrassing for the jittery government of Africa’s biggest economy, about to host a big Davos-style summit, the World Economic Forum, for which the Chinese premier and several African leaders are tonight starting to arrive in Abuja.
There have been two big, deadly bombs in the capital in the space of a fortnight, both claimed by Boko Haram. Today, a Montessori school was attacked in Abuja, although no one was kidnapped or killed. In Nigeria’s wild east, though, word’s filtered through of another Boko Haram attack on the weekend in which eight teenaged girls were abducted.
NARRATOR: Boko Haram threatens our lives, our future, our country.
JONATHAN MILLER: On Nigerian national television, state security is appealing for public vigilance and help.
Distressed relatives have largely been left in the dark by their government. Today, neighboring Cameroon denied it was harboring Boko Haram.
JUDY WOODRUFF: President Obama said today the U.S. will do all it can to help Nigeria search for the missing girls. He told NBC News that Nigeria’s president has accepted the offer of assistance.
In Ukraine, tense calm prevailed, as both sides buried their dead from recent days of fighting. The government reported 30 pro-Russian separatists were killed yesterday in Slavyansk. More than 40 others died Friday in Odessa. Today, the region’s acting governor was fired.
Authorities in Saudi Arabia have announced the discovery of a major al-Qaida terror cell. They say the group’s 62 members were plotting to assassinate Saudi officials and carry out attacks around the world. The militants are said to have ties to terrorists in Yemen and Syria.
The White House today defended the veterans affairs secretary, Eric Shinseki. The VA’s own inspector general is probing allegations that up to 40 veterans died while waiting to get help at a VA hospital in Phoenix. On Monday, the nation’s largest veterans group, the American Legion, demanded that Shinseki resign.
White House spokesman Jay Carney responded this afternoon.
JAY CARNEY, White House Press Secretary: We must ensure that our nation’s veterans get the benefits and the services that they deserve and they have earned. The president remains confident in Secretary Shinseki’s ability to lead the department and to take appropriate actions based on the I.G.’s findings.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The VA is also facing allegations that clerks at a clinic in Colorado were told to falsify records on how long patients have to wait for care.
Another major recall is under way at General Motors. This time, it affects nearly 60,000 Saturn Aura sedans. The automatic transmission shift lever can display the wrong gear. GM says the problem caused 28 crashes and four injuries in the last seven years. The automaker says it knew about the problem at least a year ago. It didn’t say why the cars were not recalled then.
Wall Street had a rough day. Stocks fell on weak corporate earnings reports and a sell-off in shares of major Internet companies. Twitter alone was down 18 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 129 points to close at 16,401. The Nasdaq fell 57 points to close at 4,080. And the S&P 500 slipped nearly 17 to finish at 1,867.