Damatru (Nigeria), Feb 22 (AFP) A number of girls missing for several days after a Boko Haram attack on their school in northeast Nigeria have been found, a state government official and a senior military source said. Also Read - At Least 100 Killed in Terrorist Attacks on Two Villages in Niger
Police said yesterday that 111 girls from the state-run boarding school in Dapchi, Yobe state, were unaccounted for following an attack by the jihadists on Monday night. Also Read - After UK, South Africa, New Coronavirus Strain Emerges in Nigeria; More Samples Sent For Testing
The disappearance sparked fears of a repeat of the 2014 mass kidnapping of more than 200 girls from a similar school in Chibok, in neighbouring Borno state. Also Read - Boko Haram Ties up, Slaughters Dozens of Farmers in Nigeria: Report
But Abdullahi Bego, spokesman for Yobe state governor Ibrahim Gaidam, said late yesterday that “some of the girls… have been rescued by gallant officers and men of the Nigerian Army from the terrorists who abducted them”.
He added: “The rescued girls are now in the custody of the Nigerian Army.” Bego’s statement was the first confirmation the girls were abducted.
Initially, the students were reported to have fled the attack with their teachers at the sound of gunfire.
The governor’s spokesman did not specify the circumstances in which the girls were rescued nor how many were recovered, and said more details would be released in due course.
But a senior military source in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, told AFP: “They were found abducted on the border between Yobe and Borno.
“The girls were abandoned with their vehicle. It had broken down and the terrorists panicked because they were under siege by pursuing soldiers.
“The fear is that some of the other girls (from Dapchi) may have been taken along by the terrorists because the girls were not in a single vehicle.
“Only those in the broken down vehicle were lucky.” A student who escaped Monday’s attack said some of her classmates had jumped over a perimeter wall at the sound of gunfire, and got into vehicles parked nearby.
It was thought the vehicles were then taken by the Islamist militants.
Inuwa Mohammed, whose 16-year-old daughter, Falmata, was missing, said: “We have been told that our girls have been found.
“But we haven’t seen them yet and we don’t know how many of them have been found. So we will wait until we see them to have a clearer picture of the situation.” A federal government delegation including Nigeria’s defence and foreign ministers was due in Dapchi today. AFP KIS –
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.