Abuja, Nigeria: Nigerian Government has clarified that only 76 abducted girls from Goverment girls’ science and technical college in Dapchi, Northern Nigeria, were released on Wednesday, leaving 34 still in captivity. State Media earlier reported that 105 of the 110 were freed with 5 feared dead. “We did it out of pity. And don’t ever put your daughters in school again,” the extremists told the residents of Dapchi as they brought back the girls.
It was initially not clear how many of the 110 girls had been freed. Family members were en route to the town Wednesday morning.
“When I get there we will do a head count to see if all of them have been released,” said Bashir Manzo, whose 16-year-old daughter was among those abducted during the Feb. 19 attack.
Manzo confirmed that his daughter was among those freed.
The Islamic Insurgents rolled into town around 2 a.m. in nine vehicles and the girls were left in the center of town. As terrified residents emerged from their homes, the extremists said “this is a warning to you all,” resident Ba’ana Musa reportedly said. “As I speak to you there is jubilation in Dapchi,” he said.
Residents in Dapchi fled on Wednesday morning upon hearing that militants vehicles were headed toward the town.
“We fled but, from our hiding, we could see them and surprisingly, we saw our girls getting out of the vehicles,” Umar Hassan told the AP.
“They assembled the girls and talked to them for some few minutes and left without any confrontation,” said another resident, Kachallah Musa.
Their release comes a day after an Amnesty International report accused the Nigerian military of failing to heed several warnings of the imminent attack last month. The military has called the report an “outright falsehood.”
Nigeria’s government celebrated the girls’ release. “GREAT NEWS from Dapchi, Yobe State. Thank God for the safe return of our sisters. Alhamdulillah!” an aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, Bashir Ahmad, said on Twitter.
The mass abduction, on 19 February 2018, and the government response brought back painful memories of the 2014 attack on a boarding school in Chibok. Militants abducted 276 girls, and about 100 of them have never returned. Some girls were forced to marry their captors, and many had children fathered by the militants.
EARLIER: Nigerian Govt Says 110 Girls Missing In School Raid – The Nigerian government confirmed Sunday that at least 110 girls from the Government Science and Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe State in the North East are still missing after heavily armed militants in trucks invaded their school on Monday. The confirmation came after days of erroneous reports of rescues from officials which turned out to be inaccurate.
Authorities initially denied any girls had been abducted, suggesting instead they were hiding in the bush after the attack.
However, the Information Ministry now says 110 girls are unaccounted for after suspected militants came to their school on Monday.
Not only is the number of missing school girls difficult to pin down, so too are details of the attack. Authorities had said early on that the militants were looting food rather than attempting abductions. They said the school’s almost 900 students plus their teachers had managed to run away and hide in the bush.
The government then later said that dozens of schoolgirls had been rescued following the attack. It has now admitted that information was inaccurate at best.
Parents of dozens of girls missing from Dapchi government girls’ school were waiting to be reunited with their daughters. However, the state governor told them no girls were rescued by the Nigerian army, despite earlier erroneous reports by the Army and state media which sparked street celebrations, only for forlorn families to have their hopes dashed.
“We have now established that the information we relied on to make the statement was not credible,” said Abdullahi Bego, Yobe State spokesman, on Thursday. “The Yobe State government apologizes for that.”
The militia horrified abducted 276 girls from a boarding school in Chibok almost four years ago. While many have returned home, many others remain in captivity. Those who got away tell of surviving in the Sambisa Forest, enduring beatings and torture as well as pressure to marry their captors and convert to Islam,
Thousands of girls, boys, women and men have been abducted since 2009.
The group has killed some 20,000 people and driven 2 million from their homes.
Government Girls Science and Technical College is located in the town of Dapchi in Yobe state, less than 200 miles north of the Chibok school where 276 girls (many still missing) were abducted in 2014.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said Sunday additional aircraft are being deployed, along with troops previously dispatched, to search for the missing girls.
Meanwhile, parents in Nigeria have released a list of 105 young women they say are among those still missing nearly a week after militants attacked the northern town, demanding that residents direct them toward the school for girls.
Bashir Manzo, who has been heading up the relatives’ efforts, said they only took information when a girl’s mother or father appeared in person to report a missing child, so the list is expected to grow. His daughter Fatima is among those still unaccounted for.
“This list did not come from the school management or any government source but collated by us from the parents of the girls,” Bashir Manzo said. “As far as we are concerned, the governor is still being fed with fake information about these poor girls.”