110 girls missing after Boko Haram attack on school in Nigeria

25 February 2018, 16:37

More than 100 girls are unaccounted for after a Boko Haram terror attack in north-east Nigeria, officials have said.

The Islamist militant group stormed a school in the town of Dapchi, about 45 miles south of the border with Niger, on Monday.

Of the school's 906 students, some "110 have not been accounted for", according to Nigeria's information minister Lai Mohammed.

Since the attack, estimates of the number of girls missing have varied from around 50 to more than 100.

On Wednesday, the Yobe state government said dozens of the girls had been rescued, sparking celebration.

By Thursday, however, it had to admit most of them were still missing.

According to Nigerian news website The Cable, Mr Mohammed met government and security officials, along with community leaders on Sunday.

He said: "No stone will be left unturned in our determination to rescue these girls.

"Government will remain focused and resolute in the fight against insurgency to rescue the students and every Nigerian in their custody."

The minister also announced that police and the Nigeria Civil Defence Corps would be deployed to schools.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian air force has been deployed to help in the search for the girls.

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari said on Friday that the abduction of the girls was "a national disaster".

He added: "We are sorry that this could have happened and share your pain."

Witnesses told reporters that the attackers had asked for directions to the school for girls when they arrived in the town on Monday.

One of those who escaped the attack was Amina Usman, 15, who had been washing when she heard gunfire and saw what looked like soldiers in vehicles.

She ran into nearby bushes to hide before later finding a teacher and other escapees.

She said: "We were 65 girls in all.

"I thought I will never see my parents or family again."

In 2014, Boko Haram - which roughly translates as "Western education is forbidden" - abducted 276 girls from a boarding school in Chibok.

Many of the girls were forced to marry their kidnappers and more than 100 are still missing.

Boko Haram fighters have killed more than 20,000 people and forced around two million people to flee since their insurgency began almost a decade ago.