'Hundreds' taken from Nigeria school

Parents tell state governor number of abducted students totals 234 - far higher than official estimates.

    The actual number of girls are missing from the northeast Nigerian school attacked last week is 234, significantly more than the 85 reported by education officials, parents have told the state governor.

    The higher figure came out on Monday, a week after the kidnappings when the Borno state governor insisted a military escort take him to the town, AP news agency reported.

    Parents told the governor that officials would not listen to them when they drew up their list of names of missing children, reaching 234.

    The discrepancy in the figures could not immediately be resolved.

    The kidnappings are believed to have been carried out by Nigeria's Islamic rebels, Boko Haram, which has been violently campaigning to establish an Islamic Shariah state in Nigeri

    Security officials had warned Governor Kashim Shettima that it was too dangerous for him to drive to Chibok, 130 kilometres from Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.

    Borno state education commission Musa Inuwo Kubo and the principal of the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School had initially said 129 science students were at the school to write a physics exam when the abductors struck, after midnight on April 14.

    Twenty-eight pupils escaped from their captors between Tuesday and Friday. Then another 16 were found to be day scholars who had returned to their homes in Chibok before the attack, leaving 85 missing students, according to school officials.

    No rescue

    The latest confusion of numbers comes after the military had reported last week that all but eight of those abducted had been rescued but then retracted the claim the following day.

    Security sources have said they are in "hot pursuit" of the abductors, but so far they have not rescued any of the girls, aged between 16 and 18.

    Parents and other town residents have joined the search for the students in the Sambisa Forest which borders Chibok town and is a known hideout for the fighters suspected of the abduction.



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