More than 100 schoolgirls remain unaccounted for after suspected Boko Haram militants attacked a town in Nigeria.
Parents have released a list of the 105 girls they say are still missing nearly a week after the town of Dapchi in Nigeria’s Yobe state was ambushed by the jihadi group.
The fate of the girls is not yet known, though many fear they have been abducted as brides for the Boko Haram extremists, who in 2014 kidnapped 276 girls from a boarding school in Chibok and forced them to marry their captors.
About 100 of the Chibok girls have never returned to their families nearly four years later.
The militants arrived on Monday evening, sending many fleeing into the surrounding bush amid the hail of gunfire.
While Nigeria’s president has called the disappearances a ‘national disaster’, local officials falsely indicated that some had been rescued while others would return from hiding in the coming days.
Yobe state Governor Ibrahim Gaidam on Friday put the number of missing girls in Dapchi at 84, but family members quickly refuted those figures.
Bashir Manzo, who has been heading up the relatives’ efforts, said they only took information when a girl’s mother or father appeared in person to report a missing child.
His daughter Fatima is among those still unaccounted for.
‘This list did not come from the school management or any government source but collated by us from the parents of the girls,’ he said.
‘As far as we are concerned, the governor is still being fed with fake information about these poor girls.’
While it appears that many students at the school did go into hiding, Mr Manzo said those children are now back with their families.
‘All those that fled into the bush had been brought back to the school on Tuesday, and a roll call was taken after which they had all gone home to meet their parents,’ he said.
The Nigerian minister of information, Lai Muhammed, visited Dapchi on Thursday where he told the media that the government still needs ‘some few days’ to confirm the actual number of missing girls.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has said no effort will be spared to locate them.
He said: ‘The entire country stands as one with the girls’ families, the government and the people of Yobe State. This is a national disaster.
‘We are sorry that this could have happened and share your pain. We pray that our gallant armed forces will locate and safely return your missing family members.’
He said the government was sending more troops and surveillance aircraft to the area to help the search.