48 missing girls return after Boko Haram school attack

Forty-eight of the 94 schoolgirls who went missing after Boko Haram terrorists stormed a school in Nigeria on Monday have returned, State Commissioner for Education, Alhaji Mohammed Lamin, said on Wednesday.

Twenty-eight girls of the Government Girls Secondary School in Dapchi, Yobe state,  returned on Tuesday night, while 20 more came back from Magwaram Village on Wednesday morning, Lamin said.

An anonymous source in the Dapchi school told THISDAY that 28 students who returned on Tuesday were rescued by villagers in bushes around the town.

Earlier, Alhaji Abdullahi Bego, director general to Yobe Governor Ibrahim Gaidam on Press affairs, said some of the students have been rescued and are in the safe custody of the army. But he did not say how many girls have been saved and how more remain with the terrorists.

Hours before the news of the rescue broke, President Muhammadu Buhari (pictured) said the military and police have been mobilised to rescue all missing girls of the school. In a tweet, Buhari said he shared the anguish of all the parents and guardians of the girls who remain unaccounted for and he promised them the safe return of their children.

He has dispatched defence, foreign affairs and information and culture ministers to the state to collate information on the attack and report back to him. He also directed the military to immediately take charge of the school and ward off any other potential security threat.

The abduction of dozens of schoolgirls on Monday sparked fears of a repeat of the 2014 Chibok kidnapping that shocked the world prompting a ‘Bring back our girls’ campaign to free them.

Agency reports said Islamists stormed the school in Dapchi before dismissal. Witnesses said they saw girls and teachers fleeing the scene. Among those who escaped the clutches of the terrorists was Aisha Yusuf Abdullahi, 16, who returned to her home in Yobe’s commercial hub, Potiskum. Abdullahi said she suspected many girls were taken away by the attackers.

Police Commissioner Abdulmaliki Sumonu told media that 815 of the total 926 girls have returned to school.

Since 2009, Boko Haram had kidnapped thousands of women and children, forcing them into sexual slavery or into marriages with its fighters.

Like Taliban, they want to strictly enforce Islamic law or sharia and punish people who do not follow that. Over the years, they have killed tens of thousands of people in north-eastern Nigeria and forced over 2.5 million to flee their homes.