There was confusion today in Chibok, Borno state, when parents of abducted schoolgirls at Government Girls Secondary School insisted that 85 more girls than admitted by officials were abducted from the school.
The Borno state commissioner for education and the principal of the school had claimed that 129 girls were kidnapped when the suspected Boko Haram gunmen stormed their dormitories on April 14.
Of the number, the officials said, 28 initially escaped while another 16 broke free from the abductors days later. The remaining 85 are still missing, they claimed.
However, parents told Borno state Governor, Kashim Shettima, who visited Chibok Monday, in defiance of security warnings, that by their records, 234 girls were abducted, suggesting that 190 of the pupils are yet to be found.
That discrepancy in number was not resolved until the governor left the school Monday evening.
The claim by the parents has now thickened the confusion about the Nigerian government’s effort to find and rescue the abducted schoolgirls.
The Nigerian military had claimed on April 16 that it freed majority of the girls.
The spokesperson of the Defence Headquarters, DHQ, Chris Olukolade, had said 107 of the girls (then believed to be missing) were freed in addition to those who initially escaped from their abductors.
Mr. Olukolade claimed that following the rescue, only eight of the girls were still held captive by the insurgents.
But shortly after Mr. Olukolade’s statement was published, the principal of the affected school, Asabe Kwambura, as well as officials of the Borno state government, said the claims were untrue and that majority of the girls were still missing.
“There is nothing in the military statement that is true about our abducted girls,” Mrs. Kwambura had said. “Up till now we are still waiting and praying for the safe return of the students; all I know is that we have only 14 of them, and the security people especially the Vigilante and the well meaning volunteers of Gwoza are still out searching for them.”
The military later retracted its claim.