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World/National News

May 11, 2014

Insurgents blow up 2nd bridge as search for kidnapped girls mounts

YOLA, Nigeria (AP) — Islamic extremists blew up a bridge, killed an unknown number of people and abducted the wife and two children of a retired police officer in northeast Nigeria, residents said yesterday amid mounting condemnation by Muslims of the Nigerian terrorist network that abducted more than 300 schoolgirls nearly a month ago.

News of Friday night’s attack came as international efforts to help rescue the 276 missing girls got under way.

A team of French experts arrived yesterday in Nigeria, said an official in President Francois Hollande’s office in Paris. He said they are expert in collecting intelligence from technical and human sources and in image analysis.

British security experts arrived Friday to join Nigerian and American forces, and Britain said its aim is not only to help in the crisis over the girls but to defeat Nigeria’s homegrown Boko Haram terrorist network.

International outrage at the prolonged failure of Nigeria’s military to rescue the girls was joined yesterday by U.S. first lady Michelle Obama. In a radio address on the eve of Mothers Day today honoring mothers in the United States she said she and President Barack Obama are “outraged and heartbroken” over the April 15 mass abduction.

“In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters,” Mrs. Obama said, referring to Malia, 15, and Sasha, 12. “We see their hopes, their dreams and we can only imagine the anguish their parents are feeling right now.”

One of them, the Rev. Enoch Mark, described his despair and anger at the military for not finding his two abducted daughters. “For a good 11 days, our daughters were sitting in one place,” he told The Associated Press.

“They camped them near Chibok (the town from which they were abducted), not more than 30 kilometers, and no help in hand.”

A well-known Nigerian Islamic scholar meanwhile warned that having foreign soldiers on Nigerian soil could escalate the conflict and draw foreign extremists to the West African nation. Ahmed Mahmud-Gumi, speaking in northern Kaduna city on Friday, said it “may trigger waves of terrorism never seen before.”

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