Boko Haram
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Nigeria's state governors, religious leaders and security chiefs have gathered to form a united front against Boko Haram, after the extremist Islamist group abducted 230 school girls in the north eastern town of Chibok.

President Goodluck Jonathan held a security meeting with governors of 36 states straddling the country's Christian south and mostly Muslim north to seek ways of ending the Islamists' five year insurgency.

Those attending the meeting agreed that the Boko Haram war is not a religious war but a war against all Nigerians.

The insurgents abducted 230 schoolgirls on April 14 and most are still missing. On the same day, a bomb in a bus station on the edge of the capital Abuja killed 75 people, an attack for which Boko Haram claimed responsibility.

Nigerian government pledged to use every possible means to rescue the abducted girls, and said that the military was doing everything to bring them safely back to their homes.

The girls aged 15-18 were taken at gunpoint from their school hostel late at night and herded into trucks. They are now believed to be in a heavily forested area near the Cameroon border. Forty-three girls managed to escape by jumping from moving trucks.

So far parents have criticised the Nigerian government's inability to deliver the girls from their kidnappers, and have called for foreign intervention, the AllAfrica reported.

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) asked the United Nations to provide "international assistance and support to the Nigerian authorities to secure the release of the children".

Boko Haram, which means "Western education is a sin" in Hausa language, has targeted secular schools teaching Christian and Muslim students in north-eastern parts of the country.

Earlier this year, the organisation abducted 25 girls and women, according to the Human Rights Watch.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau released a video in May 2013 saying that he will launch a campaign to abduct women and children in retaliation of Nigerian forces' detention of the group's family members.

The Nigerian security forces have been criticised by human rights watchdogs for carrying out indiscriminate extra-judicial killings without ascertaining suspects' actual links to Boko Haram.