234 Girls Were Kidnapped from Nigerian School, Parents Claim

The number of students missing from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Nigeria is still in question after education officials reported that 85 students were kidnapped during an attack on the school on April 14, but local parents have countered that the number is closer to 234.

Borno state governor Kashim Shettima recently went on an investigatory trip to the town where, one week ago, hundreds of girls were forced out of school and onto buses and trucks by a group that many suspect is Boko Haram, a collection of Islamic extremist rebels that is also responsible for a recent bombing in the Nigerian capital of Abuja.

The facts surrounding the incident remain confusing, with the government, school and local authorities all presenting conflicting and hazy information.

From the AP:

Some 234 girls are missing from the northeast Nigerian school attacked last week by Islamic extremists, significantly more than the 85 reported by education officials, parents told the state governor Monday.

The higher figure came out a week after the kidnappings when the Borno state governor insisted a military escort take him to the town. Parents told the governor that officials would not listen to them when they drew up their list of names of missing children and the total reached 234.

And:

Borno state education commission Musa Inuwo Kubo and the principal of the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School had initially said that 129 science students were at the school to write a physics exam when the abductors struck, after midnight on April 14. Twenty-eight pupils escaped from their captors between Tuesday and Friday. Then another 16 were found to be day scholars who had returned to their homes in Chibok before the attack. That left 85 missing students, according to school officials.

This latest confusion comes after the military had reported last week that all but eight of those abducted had been rescued — but then retracted the claim the following day.

The BBC reports:

Asabe Kwambura [the girls' head teacher] said the parents of 230 girls had reported them missing but 40 had managed to escape.

Earlier, a local state governor said that about 77 of the teenagers had not been accounted for.

[...]

When news first emerged of the kidnap last Tuesday, initial reports said more than 200 students had been seized but state officials soon downgraded the numbers, saying the correct figure was about 130.

Ms. Kwambura also claims that all of the girls who escaped did so on their own, without any help from the authorities. Boko Haram has not claimed responsibility for the incident.

Those poor girls and their parents. May the students find their way home swiftly and safely.

Image via Shutterstock.