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Local religious leaders plan rally for Nigerian girls

Charlotte religious leaders will hold a rally Saturday at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center uptown to raise awareness about 276 girls kidnapped from a Nigerian school.

Peter Awute, a native of Nigeria and pastor of the International Pilgrim Center in Charlotte, is among local organizers. The event begins at 11 a.m. and is expected to draw about 100 people, Awute said.

The Islamic extremist group Boko Haram kidnapped the girls from a remote town on April 14, leading to global outrage. Boko Haram, which has ramped up attacks in the region since the kidnapping, opposes the girls’ Western education.

Last month, the U.S. sent a team of military and law enforcement to help the Nigerian government search for the missing girls.

“We want the United States to put more pressure on the Nigerian government to find these girls,” Awute said.

Awute has eight children, including three daughters. His youngest daughter is 10 years old, not much younger than the girls abducted by the militant group.

Awute said he is planning to bring his daughters to the rally.

“Anything that can affect other families can affect us,” he said. “These children are collectively our children.”

Williams: 704-358-5294; Twitter: @byclairew
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