Locals express relief over video believed to show Nigerian girls - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Locals express relief over video believed to show kidnapped Nigerian girls

Updated:
Still from video of what is believed to be some of the 250 kidnapped Nigerian girls Still from video of what is believed to be some of the 250 kidnapped Nigerian girls
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

Locals who have publicly decried the kidnapping of hundreds of girls in Nigeria by terrorists are thrilled to see many are alive.

A video released by the kidnappers is believed to show at least 100 of the kidnap victims.

"Certainly seeing the girls alive is, is a relief," said E. Aminata Brown, Founder of Sista Works, a non-profit that works in Africa to remove barriers to education for girls.

Her office is filled with items from Africa where she worked and lived. She talked about a photo on her desk where she is pictured with young African girls.

"We see to it that they finish their education," said Brown.

Tulane professor Christopher Fettweis, who concentrates on international relations, believes with the help of the U.S., the girls can be found. He said the terrorists will inadvertently leave a trail.

"They'll probably be able to find them pretty quickly because they're talking. There's too many girls to have no coordination, they're going to be talking, we can listen to that, especially the much-maligned NSA. We can listen to communications. It probably won't take us too long to get a sense of where they are," Fettweis said.

The U.S. has a lot of interest in the extremists who are holding the girls.

"Some people connect this Boko Haram to the broader, especially West-African Islamic fundamentalist movement. They're part of these Al-Qaeda spin-offs," said Fettweis.

On Sunday, Aisha Ali-Gombe, who is from Nigeria, took part in the "Bring Our Girls Back" rally in Congo Square.

After seeing the video of the girls praying she said it was a good sign, but cautioned that every hour that they remain in the custody of the terrorists they are at risk for emotional trauma.

Brown, an organizer of the weekend rally, has spent years working to change the mindset in West Africa about girls and the need to educate them. She fears the mass kidnappings could have a chilling effect on some young girls still pursuing education.

"The effort here was to create an environment of hostility around girl's education and we are very concerned about that," said Brown.

And while Fettweis does not believe that locating the girls will be extremely difficult given the technology available today, he said the bigger challenge will be planning the appropriate course of action beyond that.

"What do you do when you find them? Do you try to negotiate their way out? There's going to be some people wanting to storm in. I think the worst-case scenario is some kind of half-hearted, inept rescue effort. It could be a blood bath," he said.

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