Over the years, Boko Haram has kidnapped thousands of adults and children [FILE: Henry Ikechukwu/EPA]
Some of the missing schoolgirls after a suspected Boko Haram attack on their school in northeast Nigeria have been found, according to a local government official and a senior military source.
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Police said on Wednesday that 111 girls from the state-run boarding school in Dapchi, in Yobe state, were unaccounted for following an attack by the armed group on Monday night.
Abdullahi Bego, spokesman for Yobe Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, said late on Wednesday that “some of the girls … have been rescued by gallant officers and men of the Nigerian Army from the terrorists who abducted them”.
He added: “The rescued girls are now in the custody of the Nigerian army.”
Bego’s statement was the first confirmation the girls were abducted.
Initially, the students were reported to have fled the attack with their teachers at the sound of gunfire.
A senior military source in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, told AFP news agency that the schoolgirls “were found abducted on the border between Yobe and Borno.
“The girls were abandoned with their vehicle. It had broken down and the terrorists panicked because they were under siege by pursuing soldiers.
“The fear is that some of the other girls [from Dapchi] may have been taken along by the terrorists because the girls were not in a single vehicle.
“Only those in the broken down vehicle were lucky.”
More than 20,000 people have been killed and two million others forced to flee their homes in northeastern Nigeria since Boko Haram launched a campaign in 2009 aimed at forming a breakaway state.
Over the years, the armed group has kidnapped thousands of adults and children.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari recently said the era of Boko Haram violence “is gradually drawing to end”.
However, the group continues to launch attacks in the country’s northeast, and its leader remains at large.