Friday 20 April 2018

Pupils’ fears after 110 girls seized by Boko Haram extremists

Dozens of girls were taken by Boko Haram in a raid reminiscent of a similar incident in Chibok in 2014.

The incident took place at the Government Girls Science and Tech College in Dapchi, Yobe State (AP)
The incident took place at the Government Girls Science and Tech College in Dapchi, Yobe State (AP)

By Associated Press Reporters

Pupils are staying away from a school in northern Nigeria, where Boko Haram extremists seized 110 girls in a raid a week ago.

The Government Girls Science and Technical College in Dapchi in Yobe state had been closed following an attack which reminded many of Boko Haram’s kidnapping of 276 girls from a boarding school in Chibok in 2014.

Teachers resumed classes on Monday, but students were absent.

One parent, Mohammed Mele, said his two children are too scared to return. Another parent added they are looking for a new school for their youngsters.

Yobe state education commissioner Mohammed Lamin said pupils are still going through trauma, and had previously said the school will reopen when “frayed nerves cool down”.

Nigeria’s government acknowledged for the first time that 110 girls remain missing on Sunday.

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Lai Muhammed, Nigerian minister of information, admitted dozens of girls were unaccounted for (AP)

The fate of the 110 girls is not known, but witnesses said the Islamic extremists specifically asked where the girls’ school was located. Some eyewitnesses reported seeing young women taken away at gunpoint.

Information minister Lai Mohammed said 906 students were in the school at the time of the attack.

Anger has been growing in Nigeria as the government struggled to respond, with authorities giving conflicting reports about what happened early on.

The mass abduction is a major challenge for President Muhammadu Buhari, who has called the Dapchi kidnappings a “national disaster” and vowed that no effort will be spared to locate the girls.

Mr Buhari won elections in 2015 while making the fight against Boko Haram a priority. His government has repeatedly claimed that the Islamic extremist group has been defeated, but it continues to carry out deadly suicide bombings in the northern part of the country, often using women and children who have been kidnapped and indoctrinated.

Many fear the girls seized last week were abducted to become brides for Boko Haram extremists. Some of the schoolgirls taken in the Chibok mass abduction were forced to marry their captors. About 100 of the Chibok girls have never returned to their families.

Nigeria faces another presidential election next year.

Press Association

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