Monday, April 21, 2014 3:27 pm
Governor Kashim Shettima heard today that 234 girls were still in the captivity of Boko Haram gunmen, contrary to earlier impression that 85 of them are unaccounted for.
The revised number was given by the parents of the girls to the governor when he visited Chibok today, to sympathise with them, a week after Boko Haram gunmen stormed the Government Girls Secondary School and took away scores of female students who had returned to the school to write an examination.
A military escort followed the governor to the town.
The Parents told the governor that officials would not listen to them when they drew up their list of names of missing children and the total reached 234.
The discrepancy in the figures could not immediately be resolved, an AP reporter on the trip reported.
Security officials had warned Gov. Kashim Shettima that it was too dangerous for him to drive to Chibok, 130 kilometers (80 miles) from Maiduguri, the Borno state capital and birthplace of the Boko Haram terrorist network blamed for the abductions.
Borno state education commission Musa Inuwo Kubo and the principal of the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School had initially said that 129 science students were at the school to write a physics exam when the abductors struck, after midnight on April 14.
Twenty-eight pupils escaped from their captors between Tuesday and Friday. Then another 16 were found to be day scholars who had returned to their homes in Chibok before the attack. That left 85 missing students, according to school officials.
This latest confusion comes after the military had reported last week that all but eight of those abducted had been rescued — but then retracted the claim the following day.
Security sources have said they are in “hot pursuit” of the abductors, but so far they have not rescued any of the girls and young women, aged between 16 and 18. And parents and other residents of the town who mounted search efforts on their own said the did not see a single soldier on the trail of the Boko Haram abductors.
Abduction of girls by Boko Haram is not new.
They have always been abducting some girls and young women in attacks on schools, villages and towns but last week’s mass kidnapping was unprecedented.
The extremists use the young women as porters, cooks and sex slaves, according to Nigerian officials.
Boko Haram was on a rampage last week, staging four attacks in three days that began with a massive explosion during rush hour at a busy bus station Monday morning in Abuja, the capital in the center of the country, which killed at least 75 people and wounded 141.