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Nigeria arrests woman protesting for schoolgirls` release: Activist

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - 00:02

A Nigerian woman who led a protest demanding the release of hundreds of schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram Islamists was arrested Monday after meeting Nigeria`s First Lady Patience Jonathan, activists said. 

The first lady`s office has denied reports that she ordered the arrest. 

The detained woman, Naomi Mutah, was part of a group who met with Jonathan late Sunday to discuss the abduction of more than 200 girls from Chibok in northeastern Borno state on April 14. 

A group called Bring Back Our Girls has organised a series of protests around the country to demand that the government and military do more to rescue the hostages. 

Protest organiser Hadiza Bala Usman told AFP that Mutah was arrested at around 3:00 am (0200 GMT) at the presidential villa because she falsely identified herself as a mother of one of the hostages. 

"She was told that she made a false claim of being a mother of the Chibok girls whereas she is not," Usman told AFP. 

Mutah, who is from Chibok and helped lead protests in Abuja last week, was in fact representing a group of mothers who could not make it to Abuja for the meeting with Jonathan, according to Usman. 

She was arrested "at the request of the first lady," Usman further said. 

Police in Abuja have so far refused to comment on the detention. 

"The first lady did not order the arrest of anybody and I`m sure of that," Jonathan`s spokesman Ayo Adewuyi told AFP.
Claims that Jonathan ordered the arrest circulated widely on Monday on Twitter.
In a video sent to AFP on Monday, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau claimed the mass kidnapping that has triggered international outrage.

First Published: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - 00:02

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