Clive Ndou
2 minute read
4 Jun 2014
7:20 am

Thousands join Durban’s anti-Boko Haram protest

Clive Ndou

Thousands of people signed a petition in Durban yesterday calling on the militant group Boko Haram, which kidnapped more than 200 school girls in Nigeria, to free them immediately.

The ANC Women's League-organised march in Durban yesterday. The Nigerian community and
people from all walks of life join to add their voices to the call for Boko Haram to release the abducted Nigerian girls. Picture: Phumlani Thabethe

“What they have done is very evil, as those girls are just innocent kids who only wanted to get an education,” Jabulile Mzolo, a signatories to the petition, said.

She was among more than 2 000 people who participated in the march organised by the ANC Women’s League to protest against the kidnappings.

The march, which coincided with National Child Protection Week this week, drew a large number of people from all walks of life, including traditional leaders, religious leaders and citizens from neighbouring countries living in Durban.

Addressing protesters at the Durban City Hall, MEC for social development and ANCWL leader in the province, Weziwe Thusi, said the intention of the march was to show solidarity with the Nigerians whose children have been abducted.

“Today we commit our solidarity to the women of Nigeria, both Muslims and Christians in every effort possible for the safe return of the kidnapped school girls,” she said.

Thusi said while people in South African and the rest of the world were angry about the militant group’s tactics, it was important for those aggrieved to control their tempers, as Boko Haram was a dangerous group which could harm the children.

Victor Okebugwu, the chairperson of the Nigerian Union, said the protest was proof that Nigerians were not alone in their efforts to get the girls released safely.

“As Nigerians, we say what happened to these girls is very wrong. We are fully behind the ANCWL’s protest,” he said.

He assured the protestors that the Nigerian government was working around the clock to get the girls freed.

“The Nigerian government is not sleeping on this matter.

“Your protest here today sends a message about the cry of women over this issue,” he said.

Okebugwu, who received a memorandum from the protestors on behalf of the Nigerian government, said that the march would add to the pressure that was currently being exerted on Boko Haram by the international community.