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Chibok 2.0: Conflicting figures trail kidnap, recovery of missing Yobe school girls

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Commissioner for Education says 48 out 94 missing girls ‘found’

•Governor confirms over 50 missing

•Police declares over 100 still missing

•Nigerian troops said to have ‘rescued’ some of the missing girls

•Buhari orders military to take charge

Jude Johnson

In what seems to remind Nigerians of the horrifying experience of the early days of Chibok girls kidnap in 2014, there has been conflicting reports account on the number of the missing students of the Government Girls Technical College (GGTC) Dapchi, Yobe State.
The girls were kidnapped during a Boko Haram terrorists attack early this week.

While the Police Commissioner claims over 111 girls were missing, the Yobe State Government itself seems to be confused about what exact number of the girls were missing.

The statements by both the Governor’s Spokesperson, Mr. Abdullahi Bego and that of the State Commissioner for Education, Mr. Mohammed Lamin, gave contradictory figures of 50 and 94 missing girls respectively.

Fortunately, the only uncontested figures for now is that 48 of the missing students have come out of hiding.

Lamin, who stated this in Damaturu, added that the state government had organised search parties to look for the remaining 46 pupils.

The Busari Local Government Area, where the attack happened is 100 kilometres away from Damaturu, the Yobe State capital.
Lamin explained that the school registered 28 missing students that returned on Tuesday, saying 20 more were received from Magwaram village on Wednesday.

He said, “This has brought down the number of missing pupils from 94 to 48 as of this morning (Wednesday). We are still hopeful that more pupils will return soon.”

The commissioner asked parents to report to the school whenever their children arrived home.

An anonymous source in the school told our correspondent that the 28 students that returned were rescued by villagers from bushes around Dapchi town.

The source said, “Some of the children trekked between 15 and 20 kilometres in the bush to save their lives. We have also received calls from Fulani settlements that they are bringing more students they found in the bush.”

“So far, no dead body has been recovered, but we heard that one pupil was bitten by a snake. She was said to have been treated locally. But she would be taken to a hospital in Damaturu for proper attention.”

It was gathered that a combined team of security operatives had been drafted to the area to search for the remaining missing students.

 

Nigerian troops ‘rescued’ some of the missing girls

The Yobe State Government on Wednesday   confirmed that Nigerian military has rescued some of the missing girls, contrary to the statement by the Commissioner that 48 came out from hiding.

This was announced in a statement by the Director-General Press Affairs, Mr. Abdullahi Bego, who did not disclose the number of the girls rescued.

Part of the statement read: “The Yobe State Government hereby informs the public that some of the girls at Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC) whose school was attacked by Boko Haram terrorists last Monday have been rescued by gallant officers and men of the Nigerian Army from the terrorists who abducted them.

“The rescued girls are now in the custody of the Nigerian Army. We will provide more details about their number and condition in due course.”

Bego said the Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, who is very grateful for the gallantry and hard work of the officers and men of the Nigerian Army involved in the operation, is monitoring the situation closely and will make a statement in due course.

Earlier, the Governor’s Spokesperson had stated that “Following the incursion of suspected Boko Haram terrorists into Dapchi, headquarters of Bursari Local Government Council and the Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC) there, the Yobe State Government is working with the Nigerian Army and other security and law enforcement agencies to ensure that all students in the school are fully accounted for.

“As the public is aware, the students were helped by their teachers to escape through the night to the surrounding bush and villages as the terrorists stormed the town last Monday.”

“Out of the 926 students in the school, over 50 are still unaccounted for as of the time of this statement. However, the Yobe State Government has continued to receive information about some of the girls being found in the general area to which they escaped.”

He said that the State Government is coordinating with the army and law enforcement to ensure that those girls are returned safely.

According to Bego, the Yobe State Government has no credible information yet as to whether any of the schoolgirls was taken hostage by the terrorists.

He said that Governor Gaidam is deeply saddened and outraged by the unfortunate event and has directed that all relevant personnel and agencies work closely with the army and other security organisations to address the situation.

He assured parents and the school community that it will do everything necessary to ensure that all the missing girls are found and returned to their school and families and that security is improved in the area.

Yobe Police Commissioner confirms 111 school girls missing after

The Police Commissioner in Yobe, Abdulmaliki Sumonu, on Wednesday confirmed that 111 girls were still unaccounted for, following Monday’s attack by Boko Haram insurgents on Government Girls Secondary School, Dapchi.
Sumonu stated this while fielding questions from newsmen in Damaturu.

He said, “815 out of the 926 students were physically seen in the school as at Tuesday.
“There are reports that more girls have returned to the school after the head count.
According to him, there were no abductions or deaths inside the school.

“I asked the school’s principal if there were abductions or deaths in the school and she said no.

“I am not unaware of the rumours going on, l want to appeal to the press and the society to please cooperate with the security agencies in this situation,” he said.

The commissioner said the security forces had pursued the insurgents in a new location where they were reported to have been seen.

 

Buhari asks the military to take charge

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday directed the military and other security agencies to take control in Government Girls Technical College (GGSTC) in Dapchi, headquarters of Bursari Local Government area of Yobe State.

This was after reports of an attack on the school by Boko Haram terrorists. The Yobe State government after the attack confirmed that out of the 926 students in the school, over 50 are still unaccounted for.

President Buhari in reaction to this, on Wednesday, directed the military to take over the situation. He also directed a delegation which will be led by the Minister of Defence to Dapchi to ascertain the situation. The delegation is to depart on Thursday to Dapchi.

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed said this at the end of the FEC meeting in Abuja on Thursday.

“In respect of the unfortunate incident of Monday in Government Girls College in Dapchi Yobe State when Boko Haram insurgents attacked the school.

“Mr President has directed the military and other security agencies to take immediate charge and control and inform him of developments,” Lai Mohammed said.

Mohammed said further that President Buhari asked a delegation led by Minister of Defence, Monsur  Dan-Ali, to visit the school in Dapchi on Thursday for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation.

“He (Buhari) has released a delegation led by the Minister of Defence to Dapchi, to get first-hand information as to what is happening there tomorrow (Thursday) morning,” he said.

Others in the delegation include the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

Yobe State government in the statement released on Wednesday where it confirmed that out of the 926 students in the school, over 50 are still unaccounted explained that information was received from locals that some of the girls were found in the general area to which they escaped.

The state Government also said it has no credible information yet as to whether any of the schoolgirls were taken hostage by the terrorists but is currently working with the army and law enforcement to ensure that the missing girls are returned safely.

 

 


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