Nigerian official says abducted schoolgirls were not rescued after all

Saul Bowman
February 24, 2018

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured the families of students reportedly abducted from the Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, that no effort will be spared to bring succour to them. Most are thought to be teenagers.

There are woeful similarities between the recent attack and the 2014 Chibok abduction of 270 school girls by Boko Haram. Some escaped, while others were released as part of negotiations.

The Yobe governor's spokesman had said then that the rescued girls are now in the custody of the Nigerian Army and that his office will provide more details about their number and condition in due course. Parents said they have set up a committee in the village, which is around 100 kilometres (62 miles) from state capital Damaturu.

"On the issue of the number of missing girls, we can not give what we are not sure of".

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari also posted a statement on Twitter saying he had "directed the military and police to mobilize immediately to ensure that all the missing girls of Government Girls Secondary School, Dapchi, are found".

The outlawed Boko Haram group has been trying since 2009 to establish an Islamic state in northeastern Nigeria. Its name roughly translates as "Western education is forbidden" in the Hausa language widely spoken in northeast Nigeria.

Boko Haram's insurgency campaign has displaced an estimated 2.4 million people in the region since 2013, according to the United Nations. "When they eventually found the school, they abducted more than 90 girls". This is a national disaster.

"For now, the situation on the ground, as far as the attack was concerned, has not taken full dimension of the Chibok school girls experience of April 2014, many of whom are still in captivity up till today and we pray it does not get to that stage", he said. Earlier this week Buhari sent security forces and a ministerial team to the area.

"815 out of the 926 students were physically seen in the school as at Tuesday".

Governor Geidam's statement came barely a day after the state government in a statement signed by Director of Information, Abdullahi Bego, said the girls had been rescued by the military.

Gaidam had gone to the community to inform the people that the students kidnapped from Government Girls Science Technical College, Dapchi, have not been rescued. "I have been tense since I heard", he said. We were 65 girls in all.

Abubakar Shehu said he, too, did not want to celebrate prematurely.

Inuwa Mohammed, whose 16-year-old daughter, Falmata, was missing, said he had "mixed feelings of hope and trepidation" about the girls' return.

Parents of pupils who disappeared from their boarding school in Dapchi told the BBC their girls were still missing.

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