50 girls missing in Nigeria after Boko Haram attack
An attack on a Nigerian school is a feared repeat of a Boko Haram attack in 2014 in which nearly 300 girls were kidnapped
An attack thought to be conducted by Boko Haram extremists in a northern Nigerian town on Monday has left approximately 50 girls missing, the Associated Press reported. The town is home to a girls boarding school and many fear they could suffer the same fate as another group of kidnapped girls.
Abdullahi Bego, a spokesman for the governor in Yobe state, did not confirm the missing girls were were abducted from the village of Dapchi by Boko Haram. However, witnesses to the attack say that they saw the girls being taken away by the same armed militants who abducted 276 girls from Chibok nearly four years ago.
“I share the anguish of all the parents and guardians of the girls that remain unaccounted for,” Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari posted on social media. “I would like to assure them that we are doing all in our power to ensure the safe return of all the girls.”
Armed Boko Haram fighters entered the town on Monday night and forced residents, including the students of Government Girls Secondary school to flee, according to reports.
Initially, the police, as well as the state ministry of education, denied the reports that the girls were taken.
In a statement on Wednesday, Bego admitted 50 of the 926 students are still unaccounted for. Earlier reports indicated that 90 girls were missing which could mean some had returned within the last 24 hours.
Aishatu Abdullahi, who attends the school said that she escaped and hid in an abandoned house overnight.
“They were shooting guns and everyone was confused. Then we started running all confused,” she told reporters of the Boko Haram militants. “We saw some people pushing some of the students to enter their vehicles.
“Many of us are traumatized,” she stated before adding that the boarding school gave students a one-week break after the attack. “But, in all honesty, I am not willing to come back here because we are scared of what could happen to us in the future.”
As many as 100 of the girls taken from the Chibok school in 2014 remain with the extremist group. A number have escaped while others were released as part of a negotiated deal with the Nigerian government.