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Shembe church fast for abducted Nigerian girls

The church also says a protest will be held in Jeppestown today to pressurise authorities to act.

The Islamist group, whose name roughly translates from the Hausa language spoken widely in northern Nigeria as Western education is forbidden claimed responsibility for kidnapping more than 200 schoolgirls, threatening to sell them like slaves and force them into marriage unless Nigeria freed militants held in the countrys jails. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Women and young girls affiliated with the Shembe church of Joburg will this afternoon start an indefinite fast in an effort to highlight the plight of the more than 200 girls abducted by Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

Seven weeks since Boko Haram militants abducted more than 200 girls taking exams at secondary school in the remote north-eastern village of Chibok.

Shembe church Spokesperson Pat Dooms says, "Shembe describes this as an act of self-sacrifice displayed by this group of young girls and young maidens who are doing this in solidarity with women, children and people from all parts of the world who are demanding a safe return of the abducted girls in Nigeria."

Nigeria's military knows where the more than 200 girls are, but has ruled out using force to rescue them; the state news agency quoted Chief of Defence Staff Air Marshal Alex Badeh as saying on Monday.

"The good news for the parents of the girls is that we know where they are, but we cannot tell you," Badeh was quoted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) as saying.

"But where they are held, can we go there with force? We can't kill our girls in the name of trying to get them back."