15/05/2014. Pupils from Pretoria Technical High School picket outside the Nigerian High Commission to show their support for the girls that were abducted by Boka Haram Picture: Masi Losi

Johannesburg - The South African government has “unequivocally condemned” the abduction of more than 200 girls in Nigeria, saying no religion can ever justify the actions of Boko Haram.

Militant Islamist group Boko Haram gained notoriety when it brazenly kidnapped the schoolgirls in northern Nigeria last month.

International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said on Thursday that the abduction was “unfortunate and unprecedented”.

“The South African government, through Dirco (Department of International Relations and Co-operation) and the statement made by the presidency two days after the abduction, came out unequivocally condemning the heinous act of using girl children as weapons of some mysterious action by these abductors.”

Nkoana-Mashabane said the group’s claims of being religious made no sense “because there’s no religion that can ever say this is okay”.

“We joined the global community as an African country to come out in support of efforts of the Nigerian government and the people of Nigeria at large.

“We are in constant communication with the Nigerian government through our high commission in Nigeria, and also the Nigerian high commission here in South Africa,” she added.

Women, Children and People with Disabilities Minister Lulu Xingwana said on Sunday the kidnapping of the girls was a crime against humanity. “More shocking are reports that the girls might be sold by their captors.”

The Star