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Women react during a protest demanding security forces search harder for 220 schoolgirls abducted from an all-girls secondary school in Chibok by Boko Haram Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters

Nigerian President-elect Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to hunt down Boko Haram Islamists on the kidnapping anniversary of dozens of Chibok schoolgirls.

The newly-elected African leader has said he would continue all efforts to rescue the girls if they are alive.

"As we remember the kidnap of the girls, it is time to reflect on the pain and suffering of the victims, their friends and families on account of the heinous crime," he said.

More than 200 girls were abducted in April last year by the Boko Haram militants in a major assault. Since then there have been no credible information on the whereabouts of the detainees although some of them are thought to have escaped from their captors' custody.

"We do not know if the Chibok girls can be rescued. Their whereabouts remain unknown. As much as I wish to, I cannot promise that we can find them. But I say to every parent, family member and friend of the children that my government will do everything in our power to bring them home," Buhari said in a statement.

Though the previous administration headed by former president Goodluck Jonathan was heavily criticised for inadequate measures, Buhari, who defeated Jonathan, did not censure him. Buhari pledged his government would take steps that were different from that of his predecessor to tackle the insurgents.

"What I can pledge, with absolute certainty, is that starting on the first day of my administration, Boko Haram will know the strength of our collective will and commitment to rid this nation of terror and bring back peace and normalcy to all the affected areas."

Ceremonies are also being held across the world to mark the one-year anniversary of the girls' captivity. Apart from Nigerian capital Abuja, people are planning marches in Washington and London as well. Rights groups and campaigners from various countries are also marking the occasion.