Musdapha Ilo, Maiduguri
The Borno State government has said only 30 of the 129 students abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok can be accounted for as at Thursday evening.
It would be recalled that over 100 students were abducted from the school on Monday night by gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect and taken to an unknown destination.
However, military spokesman, Chris Olukolade, said in two separate statements on Wednesday that his men had secured the release of the girls and that only eight of the abducted girls were still missing.
Rebutting the claims of the army, the state commissioner for Education, Musa Inuwa Kubo, in a message sent to the e-mail of journalists in the state said apart from the 14 students who had earlier fled from the camp of the insurgents there has been no other success recorded.
He said the extra 16 students which brought the total number of safe girls to 30, were those brought to the school by their parents for head count in order to ascertain the actual number of missing students.
“I am right at Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, the scene of the unfortunate abduction. At the moment we have taken custody of thirty girls. There is an increase of sixteen students whose parents returned them to school after they ran home on the day of the attack. We had made announcements and called on parents whose children and wards ran to home,” Kubo said in the statement.
He added: “By our records of 129 students being at the hostel at the time of that unfortunate incident, we are expecting the return of about 99 students who might be among those said to have been rescued by the Military. Myself, the principal of the school, Asabe Kwambura, parents, other students and residents are awaiting the return of our students.”
Kubo said he has no reason to doubt or contradict Wednesday’s announcement by the Defence Headquarters, given the fact that the military personnel are those leading the search and rescue operations along with civilian volunteers.
Earlier in the day, the principal of the school had said that apart from the 14 students who escaped, she was not aware that other girls were released.
Aliyu who spoke on BBC Hausa Service News monitored in Maiduguri said she has not had any discussion with Olukolade who claimed that more students were released and handed over to the principal.
The principal in the interview with BBC said nothing like that happened as none students was released to her by the military.
A parent who spoke on BBC, said: “We were disappointed with the statement coming from Defence Headquarters spokesman that the girls were rescued, our children are still in bush and if the military has failed, we will go after the insurgents ourselves even if it means sacrificing our lives.”
Governor Kashim Shettima has offered N50 million gift to anyone who can provide useful information that will lead to the release of the remaining withheld children.