An Islamic militant group's kidnapping of 276 girls from a school and Nigeria's dubious efforts to find and free them have ignited international outrage and fueled demonstrations around the world.
The group Boko Haram, the name means "Western education is sinful," released a video Monday in which it claimed responsibility for the mass kidnapping April 15. The group's leader, Abubakar Shekau, also threatened to sell the girls.
The government response has drawn almost as much outrage as Boko Haram's bold attack. Protesters accused President Goodluck Jonathan of insensitivity to the girls' plight. Government missteps have included a false report that some of the girls had been rescued and another report that some of the girls had been located -- but no rescue operation ordered.
Nigeria's Daily Trust newspaper reported that his wife, Patience, expressed doubts the kidnappings took place and ordered all Nigerian women to stop protesting, warning that "should anything happen to them during protests, they should blame themselves.".
In Nigeria, parents of the girls are frantic. Through sobs and jagged gasps for air, the mother of a missing 15-year-old said she had lost confidence in the authorities.
"I am so very sad because the government of Nigeria did not take care of our children and does not now care about our children," said the mother, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity to protect her daughter. "All we have left is to pray to God to help them and help us."
"Enough is enough," says Molade Alawode, 25, organizer for Action for Accountability's protest Tuesday in Washington, D.C. "The Nigerian government needs to deploy search and rescue efforts. We are going into week four of the abduction. In the case of a child abduction, time is of the essence. We need to find these girls."
Protests were held last weekend in London, Los Angeles and other cities.
Even those in Lagos, the nation's largest city but far south of the insurgent violence in northern Nigeria, are protesting. Lagosians are normally apathetic about the violence in the north, but on Monday hundreds gathered outside the Lagos state secretariat to demand security forces do more to rescue the girls, Reuters news service reports.
"This is the beginning. Until the girls are back, we will continue. I think this is the first step and we will mobilize more and more people," Charlotte Obidairo of Youth Empowerment and Development Nigeria, a non-governmental organization, told Reuters.
An organizer of a demonstration said Monday that Patience Jonathan ordered the arrests of two protest leaders, accusing them of belonging to Boko Haram.
It was unclear what authority Patience Jonathan would have to give such orders, since there is no office of first lady in the Nigerian constitution. Ayo Adewuyi, spokesman for the first lady, said he was unaware of any arrests.
President Jonathan said his administration was doing everything possible. On Friday he created a presidential committee to go to the affected Borno state to work with the community on a strategy to free the girls.