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Nigeria: Chaos and infighting clouds search for missing Dapchi school girls

Uncertainty about the number of missing school girls and harsh words exchanged between the Nigerian government and its military has emerged, while none of the Dapchi school girls have yet been retrieved.

The Coalition Against Terrorism and Extremism (CATE) has criticised the state for blaming the military for the abduction of the school girls from the Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC) in Dapchi, Yobe state. The state said that if the military had not withdrawn its troops from the surrounding areas 21 days before, the attack would most like not have happened.

In a statement National President of the group, Comrade Gabriel Onoja, said the state must not be mingling politics into a matter that is about security. Onoja said that the statement was insensitive and showed a lack of gratitude for the work they have done and the lives that have been lost in fighting the terrorist group in the state until now.

Oby Ezekwesili, former Minister of Education and co-convener of the "Bring Back Our Girls Movement", has called out Nigeria's Federal Government for its silence on the Dapchi school girls and for conveying incorrect information.

On the 21st of February it became clear that in fact 815 out of 926 school girls had returned to school during a headcount. Leaving the number at 111 missing school girls.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Initially it was though that at least 50 school girls were missing after Boko Haram jihadists raided and looted the school in Yobe.

Many teachers and pupils fled from the school as militants approached shooting into the air as they entered the town. Many fled into bushes in the surrounding area. Militants allegedly looted the school and left three hours later.

Some of the girls that escaped said that they at first thought that they were part of the military. Some girls became suspicious when their uniforms were not tidy and that some of the men were wearing flip flops.

Two days later, it was still not known exactly how many girls were missing and authorities were searching the area in search of girls still in hiding. Some parents said up to 90 girls could be missing. Some of the girls that fled the scene were recovered almost 30km away from the school.

Second attack in Yobe state in four years

The attack comes after almost 4 years to the date, since the last Boko Haram school attack in the Yobe state.

The last attack happened February 24, 2014, when 58 male students were massacred for attending western education. Boko Haram loosely translates to "Western education is sin" and the massacre was seen as a warning to people who attend western schools.

Chibok girls who had been abducted and escaped have told that Boko Haram targets schools as punishment to those who attend western schools. Parents of the girls from the recent attack in Yobe, have said that they will not be returning their children to school again in fear that the incident may repeat itself.

Chibok Girls

The Dapchi incident comes four years after the kidnapping of 270 girls in Chibok, which is 275km away from Yobe.

In May, 2017, a large group of the girls were released after the government released five Boko Haram prisoners.

In September, 2017, over 100 girls were reunited with their families in Abuja, but about a 100 girls are still being held captive by the group.

During the militant groups' eight year long insurgency in Northern Nigeria, thousands have been captured and are still being held captive.

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