Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered top security officials to do everything possible to secure the release of the more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by suspected Islamist extremists last month.

Presidential adviser Reuben Abati says Jonathan issued the directive Sunday after holding closed door talks with security service chiefs, senior officials and the head of the school where the girls were seized.

Abati said the president “has given a very clear directive that everything must be done to ensure that these girls must be brought back to safety.”

The mass abduction took place on April 15, when gunmen attacked the town of Chibok in Borno state.

About 50 of the 276 abducted girls are said to have since escaped.

The kidnapping has been blamed on the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, whose five-year insurgency has killed thousands. The group has been known to kidnap young women for use as servants and spies.

The local press has reported that some of the kidnapped girls have already been sold as “wives” to combatants.

Community leaders in Chibok say they believe some of the girls have been moved across the border into Cameroon and Chad.

Source: Voice Of America