Militant Islamist Group Boko Haram Abduct 110 Girls In Nigeria

Sandals are strewn in the yard of the Government Girls Science and Technical College in Dapchi, Nigeria. Photo: 22 February 2018
Sandals lay strewn in the yard of Dapchi’s school after the attack

BBC

“The father of a 14-year-old girl who is among 110 believed to have been abducted by Boko Haram has pleaded with the Nigerian government to act quickly.

“We don’t want these girls to stay long with those militants. Anything can happen to them,” Kachalla Bukar told the BBC.

Jihadists stormed the school in the town of Dapchi in the north-eastern Yobe state on 19 February.

The attack has revived memories of the Chibok schoolgirl abduction in 2014.

President Muhammadu Buhari said it was a “national disaster” and apologised to the girls’ families.

Mr Bukar says his wife cannot stop crying and he cannot sleep since their “brilliant” daughter Aisha disappeared.

“We are begging the government to control the situation quickly.”

Blame game over troop pull-out

But even as he begged for action, officials were falling out over the circumstances which led to the kidnapping.

On Monday, the Nigerian army released a long statement blasting Yobe State Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, who revealed on Sunday that soldiers had been removed from checkpoints around the town ahead of the kidnapping without his knowledge.

A relative of one of the missing school girls cries in Dapchi. Photo: 23 February 2018
Distraught relatives are demanding answers from the Nigerian authorities

The army initially denied Mr Gaidam’s allegations, but has now admitted they did redeploy soldiers away from Dapchi because they felt it was relatively secure.

All the same, it said the governor’s comments were “misleading and misinforming”.

According to the statement, it was the job of police to continue to secure the town.

Anger has been growing among the girls’ parents over the troop pull-out.

The army has now deployed extra troops and planes to search for the schoolgirls, half of whom are reported to have been taken across the border to Niger, according to the Daily Trust newspaper.

“We want to assure Nigerians that no stone will be left unturned in our determination to rescue these girls,” Nigeria’s Information Minister Lai Mohammed told the BBC.

Chibok parallels

The school is to remain closed for the time being, an official told news agency AFP. Parents had already told the BBC they were not prepared to let their daughters return until better security measures were in place.

Dapchi, which is about 275km (170 miles) north-west of Chibok, came under attack last Monday, causing students and teachers from the Government Girls Science and Technical College to flee into the surrounding bush.

Residents say that Nigeria’s security forces, backed by military jets, later repelled the attack.

Authorities initially denied the students had been kidnapped, saying they were hiding from their attackers.

But they later admitted that 110 girls were missing after the attack.

Parents of missing school girls check name lists in Dapchi. Photo: 23 February 2018
Parents of the missing girls check student lists in Dapchi

Boko Haram militants have been fighting a long insurgency in the country’s north in their quest for an Islamic state in the region.

Nearly four years ago they abducted 276 girls from a school in Chibok, leading to a worldwide #BringBackOurGirls campaign. The location of more than 100 of those girls is still unknown.

The conflict is estimated to have killed tens of thousands of people, and led to the abduction of thousands.”

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