By Rafiu Ajakaye
LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) - More than 50 schoolgirls remain missing following a fresh Boko Haram attack in Nigeria’s northeastern Yobe state, an official said Wednesday night.
The attack took place on late Monday at a girls-only government secondary school in Dapchi town.
“Out of the 926 students in the school, over 50 are still unaccounted for as of the time of this statement. However, the Yobe State Government has continued to receive information about some of the girls being found,” Abdullahi Bego, a spokesman for the government, said in a statement.
“The State Government is coordinating with the army and the law enforcement agencies to ensure that those girls are returned safely. The Yobe State Government has no credible information yet as to whether any of the schoolgirls was taken hostage by the terrorists,” he added.
Abdulmaliki Sumonu, police chief in the area, told Anadolu Agency that headcounts from the school showed that over 40 of the girls were still missing after hundreds of them had returned to the school after initially fleeing in the wake of the attack.
“As of this morning, more than 30 girls returned to school and many more are still thought to be lost in bushes around,” Sumonu told Anadolu Agency.
In a statement Wednesday night, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered his defense minister to move to the area along with the security chiefs to coordinate the search for the girls.
“I have also directed the military and police to mobilize immediately to ensure that all the missing girls are found,” he added.
The development mirrors Boko Haram abduction of some 276 girls from neighboring Borno state in 2014. At least 113 of the girls remain in captivity.