Julia Payne, REUTERS
ABUJA, Nigeria (Reuters) — New Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari promised on Friday to eradicate the “mindless, godless” militants of Boko Haram and rescue hundreds of women and children held captive, including 200 girls taken from the town of Chibok a year ago.
In his inaugural address as elected leader of Africa’s most populous nation and biggest oil producer, Buhari also painted a picture of an economy in crisis after a collapse in the price of crude, which accounts for the bulk of state revenue.
“The armed forces will be fully charged with prosecuting the fight against Boko Haram,” the 72-year-old former military ruler announced. A Muslim, he said the group was “as far from Islam as one can think of”.
“We cannot claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held hostage,” he said. “This government will do all it can to rescue them alive.”
Hundreds of other Boko Haram captives have been freed by the military in recent weeks, but the Chibok girls, whose capture caused a global outcry, have still not been found.