May 13, Colombo: The Government of Sri Lanka today condemned the mass abduction of over 250 female students by the Boko Haram terrorist group in Nigeria last month.
In a personally addressed letter to the Nigerian President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, as the Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth, has expressed Sri Lanka's solidarity with the Government and the people of Nigeria, which is a fellow member, in their relentless efforts to secure the safe return of the innocent victims.
On the night of April 14, armed members of Boko Haram kidnapped the entire group of students at the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok and drove them into the jungle bordering Cameroon. At least 53 girls of the group managed to escape and nearly a month later, 276 school girls are still missing.
Recalling the systematic and forcible recruitment campaign of children by the LTTE to its "Baby Brigade" and coercing them into taking up arms against the Government, the President called the abduction of the of girls by the Boko Haram is an "abominable act of terrorism" and the perpetrators should not go unpunished.
He said the incident clearly demonstrates the urgent need for decisive and concerted efforts by the international community to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
The full text of President Rajapaksa's letter to his Nigerian counterpart is as follows:
His Excellency Dr Goodluck Jonathan
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
It is almost a month since the terrorist group, Boko Haram abducted over 250 female students from a boarding school in Chibok Town in north-eastern Nigeria, a situation which I have followed with much pain of mind. The Government of Sri Lanka denounces this dastardly act which has shocked the conscience of the world and invited universal opprobrium.
This incident is reminiscent of a particularly ignominious chapter in Sri Lanka's own recent history, when the LTTE, dubbed as the most ruthless terrorist organization in the world, carried out a systematic and forcible recruitment campaign of children to its “Baby Brigade” and coerced them into taking up arms against the Government. Terrorism took away all the rights of the young people in Sri Lanka during that time, and now they have all been restored through the concerted action of my Government.
Sri Lanka, also as Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth, stands firmly in solidarity with the Government and people of Nigeria, which is a fellow member, in their relentless efforts to secure the safe return of these innocent victims of terror and be reunited with their families.
This abduction of girls by the Boko Haram is an abominable act of terrorism, perpetrators of which should not go unpunished. This incident clearly demonstrates the urgent need for decisive and concerted efforts by the international community to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
The thoughts and prayers of my people and those of my own, are with you and the people of Nigeria in this time of anguish. I am confident that with the resilience of the Nigerian people, the girls would be brought home safely.
Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.
President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka