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Police reveal that 111 schoolgirls ‘unaccounted for’ after Boko Haram attack in Yobe

Commissioner of Police in Yobe State, Abdulmaliki Sumonu, disclosed yesterday that 111 girls are still unaccounted for, in the aftermath of Monday’s attack by Boko Haram insurgents on Government Girls Secondary School, Dapchi.

Sumonu stated this when he spoke with newsmen in Damaturu.

“815, out of the 926 students, were physically seen in the school, as at Tuesday.
“There are reports that more girls have returned to the school after the head count."

According to him, there were no abductions or deaths inside the school.

“I asked the school’s principal if there were abductions or deaths in the school and she said ‘no.’ I am not unaware of the rumours going on; l want to appeal to the press and the society to please, cooperate with the security agencies in this situation,” he said.

Boko Haram stormed the school on Monday evening and thereafter, 94 girls reportedly went missing.
Locals initially said the girls and their teachers fled the attack.

Boko Haram gained worldwide notoriety on April 14, 2014, when the insurgents stormed a girls’ secondary school in Chibok, Borno State and kidnapped 276 girls. A total of 112 are still being held.

After negotiations between the insurgents and the Federal Government, brokered by the International Red Cross, at least, 164 of them have been released.

Monday’s incident sparked fears of a repeat and on Wednesday morning, some 50 parents and guardians gathered at the school and demanded information.

“Our girls have been missing for two days and we don’t know their whereabouts. Although we were told they had run to some villages, we have been to all these villages mentioned without any luck. We are beginning to harbour fears the worst might have happened. We have the fear that we are dealing with another Chibok scenario,” Abubakar Shehu, whose niece is among those missing, told AFP.

A source in the school said the number of missing students was established Tuesday afternoon, after a head count.

On whether the students were abducted, he said: “We cannot say because the insurgents went into the students’ hostel and many of these students scaled the fence and escaped into the bushes. No one can tell if they are abducted or not.”

Meanwhile, following the attack, parents have started evacuating their children from the school.

One of the parents, Babagana Gujba, told newsmen he decided to withdraw his daughter from school because of her safety. "I cannot risk my daughter for anybody. She will not return to this school until adequate security measures are put in place.”
One of the students who fled while the attack was on, Miss Aisha Kachalla, said: “Immediately we started hearing sporadic gunshots, we realised that all was not well. “We did not wait for anyone to tell us what was going on before taking to our heels. I can’t remain in this school; I just want to go home. I am scared.”

But, the police insisted in a statement that no student was abducted from the school by Boko Haram.
Yesterday morning, the number of missing students dropped from 94 to 46.

Commissioner of Education, Mohammed Lamin, said 28 students returned on Tuesday night and 20 more were received from Magwaram village yesterday morning.

“This has brought down the 94 missing students realised at yesterday’s headcount to 48 this morning (yesterday). We are still hopeful that more are returning soon,” he said.

He, however, advised parents to report to the school whenever their children arrived home so as to update the existing list.

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed military and other security agencies to take immediate charge and control of Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi, where 111 were ‘unaccounted for’ as at yesterday afternoon.

The president said those deployed to Dapchi should keep him informed him of developments.

The Federal Government delegation to Dapchi is led by the Minister of Defence, Monsur Dan-Ali, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, and Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
Mohammed disclosed this to State House Correspondents at the end of the over five-hour meeting presided over by President Buhari.

“Mr. President has directed military and other security agencies to take immediate charge and control Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi, and informed him of developments. He has released a delegation led by the minister of Defence to Dapchi, to get first-hand information as to what is happening tomorrow morning (Thursday)."

Asked the latest information, with regards to the missing girls aside the 48 that have returned, Mohammed replied: “That is precisely why Mr. President is in direct contact with the military and police and, as soon as we get any information, we will let you know.”

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed shock over the reported disappearance of the schoolgirls.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party said it was disturbed about the development, especially as there are conflicting reports about the whereabouts of the girls.
The party called on the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to quickly put machinery in motion to recover the school girls.

“Our party restates that the life, safety and well-being of all Nigerians remain of paramount importance to us and we therefore insist that all efforts must be exerted to find these students.
“The PDP is monitoring the development on the position of the police investigation of the matter…”
“We also urge the All Progressives Congress (APC)-controlled Federal Government to live up to its basic responsibility of protecting lives and property in our country."