The Nigerian government reported on Monday that 110 schoolgirls are missing after a school invasion by Boko Haram insurgents on February 19.
“The federal government has confirmed that 110 students of the Government Science and Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe State, are so far unaccounted for, after insurgents believed to be from a faction of Boko Haram invaded their school on Monday,” the information ministry said in a statement.
The minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the announcement after a meeting with representatives of the state and federal government, parents, school personnel, and security officials. He said, based on briefings from the principal of the school, 906 students were in attendance on the day of the attack, 110 of whom have not been accounted for.
The federal government is stepping up efforts to rescue the missing girls and has deployed security personnel to schools to protect students and staffers, Alhaji Mohammed said.
”This is the second time in four days that a Federal Government delegation would visit Yobe State since the unfortunate incident. This is a measure of the seriousness with which we are addressing the issue. The security forces are leaving no stone unturned in their search for the girls,” he explained. ”We are back here in Yobe as part of efforts to provide some succor to the parents of the girls, to let them know that they are not alone and also to reassure them that we will not rest until we have found the girls. We will carry the parents along on the efforts we are making.”
”We must get back the girls and also ensure that this does not happen again,” he added.
Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group, kidnapped 270 girls from a school in Chibok in 2014, sparking an international outcry and inspiring the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag. The group has reportedly killed more than 20,000 people and forced more than two million to flee their homes since the insurgency began in 2009.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday told a group of victims who were rescued from Boko Haram last year that the negotiations for their release were “painstaking and protracted’’ because their abductors were split into groups and staying in different locations.
“While thanking the security agencies and all those who facilitated this, let me clearly reiterate the resolve of this Administration to ensure all persons abducted by the insurgents, are rescued or released safely,” Buhari said.
“This is especially against the backdrop of the recent sad incident where another group of girls were abducted on 19th February, from Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State.”
“I have since directed all security agencies to immediately ensure that every effort is directed to ensure the safety of our schools and students, as well as bringing back the abducted girls to their families,’’ he added.