Monday 23 April 2018

Anger in home village as girls remain missing after Boko Haram kidnapping

The governor of Nigeria’s Yobe state, Ibrahim Gaidam told residents of the village of Dapchi that 76 of their schoolgirls who were reported to have been rescued from Islamist Boko Haram kidnappers are still missing (stock picture)
The governor of Nigeria’s Yobe state, Ibrahim Gaidam told residents of the village of Dapchi that 76 of their schoolgirls who were reported to have been rescued from Islamist Boko Haram kidnappers are still missing (stock picture)

Ola Lanre

The governor of Nigeria's Yobe state told residents of the village of Dapchi that 76 of their schoolgirls who were reported to have been rescued from Islamist Boko Haram kidnappers are still missing.

His government had said on Wednesday the schoolgirls had been rescued by the military, sparking celebration in the streets.

But a day later, Ibrahim Gaidam told villagers the girls were still unaccounted for.

"The government said yesterday the girls have been found, then the governor came today to say the soldiers are yet to find them," said Ali Maidoya, who lives in Dapchi. "Why did they lie to us before?"

The students' disappearance is one of the largest since Boko Haram abducted more than 270 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in 2014.

That case drew global attention to the nine-year insurgency, which has sparked what the United Nations has called one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.

A roll-call at the girls' school on Tuesday showed 91 students were absent.

Boko Haram insurgents drove into Dapchi on Monday evening in trucks, some of them camouflaged and mounted with heavy guns, and attacked the girls' school, sending hundreds of students fleeing.

On Wednesday, one witness said he had seen three trucks filled with weeping girls.

There is confusion over the number now missing, with estimates ranging from around 50 to more than 100. State police, the Yobe government and others have all given different figures.

Last year, President Muhammadu Buhari's administration agreed to pay millions of euro to secure the release of some of the Chibok girls.

This week's kidnapping of the Dapchi schoolgirls may have been carried out in the hope of securing a similar multi-million euro ransom.

Irish Independent

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