Nigeria school kidnapping: more than 100 girls missing in Dapchi
President apologises over mistaken claims of rescue following suspected Boko Haram attack
More than 100 girls have been confirmed as missing following a suspected Boko Haram attack on a school in northeastern Nigeria last week.
Armed insurgents stormed the college in the town of Dapchi last Monday, in what is believed to be the largest abduction since jihadists kidnapped 276 girls from their school in Chibok in 2014.
Following days of contradictory reports from federal agencies, Nigeria’s Information Ministry confirmed yesterday that 110 students were unaccounted for.
President Muhammadu Buhari called the kidnappings a “national disaster” and promised parents their children will be found and their attackers brought to justice, CNN reports.
“We are sorry that it happened; we share your pain,” Buhari said in a statement on Twitter. “Let me assure that our gallant armed forces will locate and safely return all the missing girls.”
The president also apologised after the authorities mistakenly claimed to have rescued some of the girls last week.
Authorities say it is unclear whether they have been taken hostage by terrorists. However, The New York Times reports that witnesses “described seeing the girls in militants’ vehicles as part of what appeared to be a deliberate plan to steal them”.
The attack comes almost four years after the Chibok kidnapping sparked a global social media campaign to secure their freedom.
Some of the victims have been released as a result of government negotiations or have escaped, but more than 100 of the Chibok students are still believed to be missing.