© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
‘I won’t come back to school’ — girl now in fear of Boko Haram after mass abduction in Yobe
After a high-figure abduction by Boko Haram, some girls of Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS) Dapchi, Yobe State, are no longer interested in schooling.
Aishatu Abdullahi, one of the schoolgirls who managed to escape, said she and many of her school mates were left traumatized by the attack and would not want to return to the school again.
Sunmonu Abdulmaliki, Yobe State Police Commissioner, confirmed to journalists that the school was indeed attacked but that it was yet to be ascertained whether the attackers left with any of the students in their custody.
“Quite alright, the school was attacked, (but) as of today, both the parents and the school authorities are doing a headcount,” Adulmaliki said.
“The school has up to 900 students; some of them are on farms; some of them have not resumed. I am sure by morning tomorrow (Wednesday), I should get the details from the ministry to know whether there are missing children or not.”
However, Aishatu, the schoolgirl who was lucky to escape, said she saw the terrorists trying to force some of her schoolmates into their car.
According to her, she and others, including the school’s principal and vice principal, scaled the fence in order to escape, and later hid themselves in a building whose owners had since fled.
“My name is Aishatu Abdullahi. I am a Senior Secondary (SS) student of GGSS Dapchi,” she said in Hausa language. “I was in the school when the Boko Haram insurgents came at exactly the time we were preparing to break our usual Monday fast.
“They were shooting guns and everyone was confused; then we started running helter-skelter. We saw some people pushing some of the students to enter their vehicles.
“There were no soldiers at the time of the invasion. It was later after the principal placed a call that some soldiers came and then we began to see helicopter hovering around the village.
“We were in the mosque when the Boko Haram gunmen came into the town. According to the accounts of some of my mates, the Boko Haram told those that were caught in the mosque to sit on the floor, including our teachers.
“One of our teachers was injured in his leg and hand – I don’t know if it was from gunshot. We don’t know what later happened, the gunmen later left the people in the mosque. “They came in three trucks. But they didn’t cart away food from our store as claimed.
“Some of the other schoolgirls ran with some of our teachers to a house near the school. We saw the women in the house running away, but we had to enter and hide inside the house. All of us that escaped, including our school principal, the vice principal and some other teachers, stayed in the deserted house till morning.
“I cannot say how many of us but I know that our game master was able to escape with about 60 students into the bush.
“Many students cannot be accounted for till this moment, some classes are empty, some classes had less than 15 students; some said10 could not be accounted for; mostly all of the classes have missing students.
“Many of us are traumatised; many were even fainting upon hearing any unusual sounds due to the experience.
“The school has given us one week to go home for a break; but in all honesty, I am not willing to come back here because we are scared of what could happen to us in the future.”
Close to 300 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram from Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, in April 2014, with more than 100 of them still in captivity till date. Others were released after the Federal Government struck a deal with the insurgents in 2017.
This recent attack is coming just days after Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff, issued another directive demanding that Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram, be captured dead or alive.
In August 2017, Buratai gave a 40-day ultimatum to the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, within which Shekau must be captured dead or alive, but days later, Boko Hram ambushed a team of NNPC oil exploration team at the Lake Chad Basin, killing almost 50 of them, including security personnel and kidnapping three.
The Nigerian military has always insisted that the insurgents have been completely decimated, but events continue proving otherwise.