14 more kidnapped female students escape – Borno Commissioner
Fourteen more of the kidnapped Borno female students have escaped from their abductors, an official has said.
The Borno State Commissioner for Education, Musa Kubo, on Friday said 14 of the abducted students of Government Girls Secondary School, GGSS, Chibok, escaped from their captors and were found wandering in the bushes by residents who brought them back to Chibok Town.
The commissioner said 12 of the girls were found in the forests near Chibok Town, while two other girls were also found by soldiers wandering around the bush near Damboa Town.
Mr. Kubo said the total number of students that have been accounted for now stands at 44. He said the government hopes for more to be rescued by the search party that includes soldiers, civilian vigilante, and other security agencies.
“I am glad to say that 14 more students have escaped from their abductors. Out of this number, three are currently with me at Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, the scene of the unfortunate abduction; while my governor, Kashim Shettima, has confirmed to me today that 11 girls have escaped to a town along Damboa/Biu road in Borno State after they escaped from captivity.
“The 11 ladies were immediately moved from the location to other parts of the state to reconnect with their families. The remaining 33 students in Chibok have also been moved out of the school to different parts of the State to join their families. The steps were taken to safeguard them,” the commissioner said.
Mr. Kubo said 85 of the 129 abducted students are still unaccounted for.
“Meanwhile, with this development, we have 44 out of our 129 students at the hostel on the day of attack on the school. This means that we have 85 students yet to join us.
“You may wish to recall that as at Thursday, we had 30 students returned. Out of that number, 14 escaped from their abductors while 16 students where returned by their parents and guardians after they ran home on the day of the attack,” he said.
The commissioner also clarified that the 16 students who were returned by their parents “were not abducted.”
“You may also remember what I said yesterday that we had made announcements and called on parents whose children and wards ran home to return them to the school so we could take proper account of our 129 students to know the number of those missing.
“We are hopefully expecting the return of our 85 students as intensive search and rescue efforts continue. I must acknowledge the combined efforts of the security agencies and civilian volunteers for the intensive search which may have piled up pressure on abductors and possibly contributing to the escape of 28 students from captivity. We continually pray that all our students return in good health as well as all the security agents and volunteers safely return.
“We are indeed grateful for the patriotic efforts being displayed by all those involved in the search and rescue operations. We are also very grateful to all Nigerians, institutions and governments within and outside our country for their unflinching support that has remained indelible to us in the education sector of Borno State.
“We once again call on parents and all sympathisers to remain prayerful and hopeful that by the grace of God all the students will safely return to school. Once again, on behalf of the Borno State Government, my ministry, staff, and students of the affected school, parents and relations of affected students, I very well appreciate the Nigerian and International media organisations for their most helpful support. I will keep updating anytime there is something new which I hope will be positive and anytime soon.”
The students were kidnapped by suspected members of the Boko Haram on Monday night from their school.
Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa have been under emergency rule since May last year based on the activities of the Boko Haram. Despite the emergency rule, however, attacks by the sect are still common particularly in Borno and Yobe.