ABUJA, Feb. 25
There might be up to 105 schoolgirls taken away by terror group Boko Haram after an all-girl college was attacked Monday in Nigeria’s northeastern state of Yobe, parents of the missing students alleged Saturday, citing an evidence.
Bashir Manzo, a parent whose child is among the missing, told local media that he personally submitted a compiled list of 105 missing students to authorities of the Government Girls Technical College in Dapchi area of Yobe on Friday.
Manzo, who heads the newly formed Forum of Parents of the Missing Dapchi Girls, said the list contained the name of each missing student, her local government area and telephone numbers of her parents.
“The list we have here is from the parents that came themselves and reported that they had not seen their children up till this moment,” he told local newspaper The Nation.
According to Manzo, each parent personally gave his name, the name of his child, his town, local government area and his phone number.
“We are not collating these names by any phone call or text message. You have to come yourself and give your name and the name of your daughter that is missing, otherwise, we will not accept anything short of that,” he explained, adding “the list we have got now is 105 students that have not been found up till today.”
Manzo said local residents were alarmed when Boko Haram stormed the community late Monday as it was clear from the behavior of the invaders that their mission was mainly to abduct the students.
“They rounded up as many girls as they could lay their hands on and packed them into their vehicles. They then escaped,” he added.
On Thursday, the Nigerian government said it was not yet sure of the number of the missing girls and pleaded for more time to assess the situation.
In a statement on Friday, Nigerian leader Muhammadu Buhari described the incident as a “national disaster,” saying “the entire country stands as one with the girls’ families.”
The tragedy of the missing girls has brought back memories of a similar occurrence four years ago in Africa’s most populous country when more than 200 schoolgirls, also from an all-girl college, were abducted by Boko Haram in the northeastern town of Chibok.
Buhari said he will be sending more troops and surveillance aircraft to search for the schoolgirls.
He assured the families of the missing students that no effort will be spared to bring succor to them, as troops will be mandated to keep an eye on all movements in the entire territory on a 24-hour basis, in the hope that all the missing girls will be found.
Local officials said at least 46 students are still unaccounted for following the Monday night’s attack. Other reports put the figure at 13.
Over 94 students were said to be missing at first. But the state government said 28 returned late Tuesday and 20 more came back early Wednesday.
The police and local officials said there was no evidence that the girls had been abducted but the Yobe government agreed with parents that some of the students are in Boko Haram’s captivity.
A local teacher said as Boko Haram outlaws went into students’ dormitories, many of the girls jumped over the fence and escaped into the bushes.
Some of the girls who had returned told the school authorities that they were rescued by villagers from the bushes.
The outlawed Boko Haram group has been trying since 2009 to establish an Islamic state in northeastern Nigeria. They have killed some 20,000 people and displaced millions of others.