Missing girls in NE Nigeria a 'national disaster': president

2018-02-23 21:19
Muhammadu Buhari (File: AFP)

Muhammadu Buhari (File: AFP)

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Abuja - President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said Nigeria had suffered a "national disaster" over girls who went missing after Boko Haram jihadists attacked their school in northeast Nigeria.

"This is a national disaster. We are sorry that this could have happened," said Buhari in a statement, issued five days after the attack in the town of Dapchi, in Yobe state.

"We pray that our gallant armed forces will locate and safely return your missing family members.

"Our government is sending more troops and surveillance aircraft to keep an eye on all movements in the entire territory on a 24-hour basis, in the hope that all the missing girls will be found."

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One hundred and five girls were listed as missing after the attack on their boarding school on Monday evening, according to a newly-formed parents association.

With many of the girls failing to return home, fears are growing that dozens have been kidnapped, reviving memories of the mass abduction of more than 200 girls from Chibok in April 2014.

The attack has cast the spotlight on Nigeria's ability to secure hard-to-reach rural areas in the remote region and its repeated claims that Boko Haram is on the verge of defeat.

Boko Haram's relentless assault on Nigeria's northeast since 2009 has spared few, targeting not only schools but mosques and markets.

The jihadists have increasingly turned to kidnapping for ransom as a way to finance their operations and win back key commanders in prisoner swaps with the Nigerian government.

Read more on:    boko haram  |  muhammadu buhari  |  nigeria  |  west africa

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