Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Principal- 190 schoolgirls remain missing, not 77

About 190 schoolgirls remain missing after being abducted last week by Boko Haram insurgents, their head teacher, Asabe Kwabura, told the British Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.

She said the parents of 230 girls had reported them missing but that 40 had managed to escape from the insurgents.

The 190 figure is far more than the 77 given earlier by government officials.

The Associated Press had reported that parents of the pupils of Government Secondary School, Chibok told Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima when he visited on Monday, that 234 girls were abducted.

When news first emerged of the kidnap last Tuesday, initial reports said more than 200 students were abducted, but state officials said the correct figure was about 130.

The students, aged between 16 and 18 were about to sit their final year examinations when the insurgents invaded their school.

Kwabura told the BBC Hausa service that about 40 fled their captors.

“None of these girls was rescued by the military; they managed to escape on their own from their abductors,” she said.

Asked about the conflicting reports on the number of students kidnapped, she said: “Only reports that come from us is the truth and based on the register we have on paper.”

She had previously called on the kidnappers to “have mercy on the students”.

Before visiting Chibok on Monday, Shettima said that eight more girls had escaped over the weekend, meaning a total 52 had fled.

One of the parents, Shettima Haruna, told Shettima that they had been having sleepless nights since the incident happened.

He added that at a time, they summoned courage to visit Sambisa Forest to search for the missing girls.

The parent said, “We want to seize this opportunity to thank you (governor) for the visit and for identifying with us in this sorrowful moment; but we want to emphasise that we are not happy with this development.In as much as we continue to pray for the safe return of our daughters, we are appealing to the government and security operatives to please intensify the search for our missing innocent children.”

Another parent, Mallam Amos Chiroma, said they saw a lot of strange things at the forest while searching for their daughters.

He said, “When we were in the bushes of Sambisa, we came across different make -shift camps suspected to be deserted by the insurgents.”

The parents of the abducted girls, who could not hold back tears, appealed to the government to ensure that their abducted girls were freed.

Our correspondent in Borno State, who was in Chibok, observed that most of the school buildings were totally burnt down by the insurgents.

Shettima, who was equally moved to tears, promised that his government would deploy all human and material resources towards rescuing the girls.

He said, “They can burn physical structures but they cannot destroy our souls. Patient is the ultimate solution to the problem and I will ask us to have patience. We will soon get over this,”

The confusion over the numbers comes after the military last week said that all but eight of the pupils had been rescued before withdrawing its claim a day later.

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