Following a statement by the Nigerian military that all but 8 of the 129 girls abducted from a school in the remote area of Chibok in Borno state, the BBC reports that there is no proof to suggest that this is indeed the case.
Armed gun men stormed a secondary school in the area on Tuesday night and ordered girls who were believed to be writing their exams into lorries and fled with scores of students amidst heavy gun fire and rampaging.
The attack happened despite security forces being positioned in the school to protect the students as they prepared to sit for their final exams.
The BBC’s Will Ross reports that ‘hours before the military issued its statement, the governor of Borno state, Kashim Shettima had said the vast majority of the girls were still missing, while offering a reward of 50m naira ($308,000; £184,000) for information in the case.’
There has been concerted efforts by everyone from the Nigerian Airforce, army, police and local volunteers to find the missing school girls in an attack that has left locals and the government’s critics wondering how safe students in the North eastern region are after repeated attacks by insurgents suspected to be members of the dreaded Boko Haram have carried out several attacks on schools in the region in their war against western education.
UN secretary Ban Ki Moon condemned the “shocking” mass abduction and called for the girls’ immediate release.
Speaking to the Governor of Borno state Kashim Shettimaa, the principal of the boarding school said the extremists had arrived at the school dressed in military fatigues and posing as soldiers.
He said the principal believed they were taking away the students for their own safety, and it was only as they were leaving and started shooting that he realized his mistake.
The militants reportedly killed a soldier and a police officer during the attack.
Four of the girls managed to escape from their captors by jumping off a moving truck while 10 others escaped as the convoy stopped at a remote location after one of the vehicles developed a fault.
Speaking to the BBC, one of the girls told reporters how armed gun men burst into their dormitories as they slept, taking her and her school mates away in a convoy.
“We ran into the bush and waited until daybreak before we went back home,” she said.