The number of girls abducted from Government Girls School, Chibok, by suspected Boko Haram insurgents two weeks ago in Borno State is nearly twice the figure given earlier by the school and state officials.
But yesterday when Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima visited the school, the principal and distraught parents said the number of girls missing stands at 234 while those that escaped from their abductors are 39, and that is as against the 129 announced earlier.
It was discovered via an official who preferred not to be named explaining that the mix-up arose because arts students who had finished their examination did not leave the school as previously thought. Parents who were made aware of the situation all thronged the school and all the complaints amounted to 234.
Parents expressed their gratitude regardless but didn’t hide their anger either at the slow pace the search was taking
“We want to seize this opportunity to thank you (governor) for coming to identify with us at this sorrowful moment; but the truth of the matter is that only 39 out of over 270 students were so far rescued, and we want to emphasise that we are not happy with this development.
“In as much as we continue praying for the safe return of our daughters, we want to appeal to government and our security operatives to please intensify the search for our missing innocent children.”
Responding, Governor Shettima said he shared their grief assuring that human and material resources would be deployed towards rescuing the girls.
“They (Boko Haram) can burn physical structures but cannot destroy our souls. I want to encourage us to be patient believing that we would soon get over this,” Shettima said.
Meanwhile, some youth vigilantes, also known as civilian JTF, have accused some military commanders of discouraging troops under their command from advancing into the Sambisa Forest. Most of the youths who spoke to our correspondents in confidence said something must be wrong somewhere, pointing out that the rescue operation should not have taken this long.