The Slatest

Parents Say 234 Schoolgirls Are Missing in Mass Nigerian Kidnapping, Far Higher Than Official Reports

Parents say hundreds of schoolgirls are still missing from a mass kidnapping at a school in northeast Nigeria.

Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images

Last week, hundreds of schoolgirls were kidnapped in Nigeria. The attack, believed to be carried out by the extremist Islamist group Boko Haram, took place at the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School in the northeastern part of the country when, according to local officials, 129 science students, who were at the school to take a physics exam, were abducted. Over the last week, 40 students managed to escape from their captors, and 16 others were able to flee to their homes, leaving 85 students still missing, officials said.

On Monday, however, parents and school officials, said the number of girls who had been taken was actually 234, far higher than reported by the state governor of the region, according to the Associated Press. The AP reports that it is not immediately clear why the discrepancy in the number of the missing occurred, but comes on the heels of another mix up last week when the Nigerian military said all but eight of the girls had been rescued before retracting the statement.

The mass abduction is thought to be part of particularly bloody week for Boko Haram that included four attacks over a three-day period, including an explosion at a bus station in the Nigerian capital of Abuja that killed 75 people. “Security sources have said they are in ‘hot pursuit’ of the abductors, but so far they have not rescued any of the girls and young women, aged between 16 and 18,” the AP reports. Parents and neighbors from the town, Chibok, are also searching the missing girls in a nearby stretch of forest that is known hideout for the militant group.