Three members of President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet will be going to Yobe, Northeast Nigeria this Thursday morning to get more information on the students declared missing after their school in Dapchi town, about 100 kilometers to the state capital came under attack of Boko Haram insurgent group on Monday evening.
Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Minister of Information who will also be on the delegation to the North east state announced the visit before the announcement late Wednesday evening that some of the missing schoolgirls have been rescued by the military around Jilli and Muwarti villages on the border of Yobe with Borno State.
According to Daily Trust, the rescued girls were taken to Gaidam town for medical checkup from where they would be transported to Damaturu, the state capital.
In a statement issued last night, Director-General, Press Affairs to Governor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe State, Abdullahi Bego, confirmed the rescue of some the girls by the military.
“The rescued girls are now in the custody of the Nigerian Army,” he said, adding, “We would provide more details about their number and condition in due course.
Over 94 students were declared missing in the aftermath of the Boko Haram attack on Monday evening.
While some of the girls escaped to the surrounding bush and villages when the terrorists stormed their school, there were indications that the Boko Haram militants took some of them away.
Bego had in an earlier statement on Wednesday said out of the 926 students in the school, over 50 are still unaccounted for.
He added that Yobe State Government has continued to receive information about some of the girls being found in the general area to which they escaped.
Daily Trust reports that some of the missing girls who had returned were rescued by villagers in bushes around Dapchi town.
“You know, some of the children trekked 15 to 20 kilometres in the bush to save their lives. We also received calls from Fulani settlements that they are bringing more students they found in the bush,” he said,” the newspaper said quoting a source in the school.
Yobe state Commissioner of Education, Mohammed Lamin, was also quoted to have confirmed that the number of missing students is down from 94 after the Tuesday’s head count to 48 before the announcement of the rescue of some of the students.
Yobe Police Commissioner, Abdumaliki Sunmonu told journalists who put the number of girls missing after the attack at 111 on Wednesday said he had no evidence that the missing students were abducted by the Boko Haram invaders.
“From us (Police), no case of abduction has been established, and from the military, they had not told me any because it is a joint operation led by the military,” he said.
But Daily Trust also quoted credible sources in Dapchi town as confirming that the abduction indeed happened.
According to the newspaper, one of the sources said they had established that some of the girls were loaded into a Tata truck by Boko Haram fighters who disguised as soldiers.
He said his niece simply identified as Maryam was yet to be found and called on authorities to dispatch rescue experts to help bring back the girls.
“The whole area where the girls fled to is porous, I fear some of them might die because of thirst in the desert,” he said.
The newspaper also quoted another source in Dapchi as telling its reporter that while the insurgents invaded the school firing gun shots, with where the foodstuffs were kept as their target, others dressed in military uniforms parked their Tata trucks outside the perimeter fence of the school.
“They pretended to be soldiers and beckoned on some of the fleeing girls. They ended up going with them through the vast desert that leads to parts of Geidam and Yunusari local government areas,” he said.
Another source in Gaidam said the terrorists mobilized from locations around River Yobe that runs through Yunusari Local Government Area that shares borders with Niger Republic and northern fringes of Borno State.
He said the Boko Haram terrorists relocated to the place after serious offensive by Nigerian troops around the shores of the Lake Chad.
“We keep saying that they are living around Bulabulin, Buhari, Alagarno, Mattari and Kayaderi, Puchimeram, Bultuwa, Ngaltra, Matari and Kadar lamba among other places,” he said.
He said the terrorists are now “extremely mobile and keep moving with their captives unless something urgent is done.
A father to one of the abducted girls who has returned home, Modu Auduye, a staff of Borno State Rehabilitation Centre, Bulumkutu, Maiduguri was also quoted by Daily Trust as confirming the abduction of some of the missing girls by Boko Haram.
Auduye told the newspaper his daughter, Hajja Halima A. Karam, 16, a student of SS 2 at the secondary school ran away from the abductors after falling off the Toyota Hilux pickup van into which they were crammed, along with her mates by the Boko Haram invaders.
He added that after falling off the van, Halima ran to a road where she was assisted by passers-by to get home at about 5pm of Tuesday.
President Buhari’s delegation to Yobe led by the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, to Dapchi, is however expected to get first-hand information about the Boko Haram attack.
Minister of Foreign Affairs will also be part of the delegation.
The President has also directed the military to give him more information about the incident.