It took three weeks, but Nigeria's president Goodluck Jonathan has finally spoken out about the abducted schoolgirls. While he's determined that they will be rescued, he said officials don't know where they are currently being held and aren't negotiating for their release.
Jonathan's statement comes after a weekend of worldwide protests for the girls, both in person and over social media:
Access to education is a basic right & an unconscionable reason to target innocent girls. We must stand up to terrorism. #BringBackOurGirls— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) May 4, 2014
On April 14, 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped, most likely by militant group Boko Haram. Many escaped, but 223 are still believed to be missing. According to the recent reports, they are being sold into slavery, but again, there's still so much we don't know.
"Wherever these girls are, we'll get them out," Jonathan said. He then criticized the girls' parents for not cooperating with investigations by providing officials with a "clear identity" of the girls who are missing. Jonathan himself has been criticized for not speaking out about the kidnapping until now, and his government for not doing enough to find them. He disputed this, saying the air force and army have been searching for the girls.
Amid reports that Nigerian authorities were negotiating with Boko Haram for the girls' release, Jonathan said: "You don't negotiate with somebody you don't know. The issue of negotiation has not come up."
Also this weekend, Secretary of State John Kerry called the abduction an "unconscionable crime," and said the United States was "working to strengthen Nigeria's institutions and its military to combat Boko Haram's campaign of terror and violence." The United Kingdom has also offered its assistance.