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Search Continues for Nigerian Schoolgirls Abducted by Islamic Extremists

Nigerian children at schoolTwenty-four more Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by Islamic extremists have escaped but 85 are still missing, an education official said on Friday.

Some of the 129 young women who were abducted jumped off the back of a truck when they were kidnapped before dawn on Tuesday from a high school in the extreme northeast of Nigeria.

Others escaped into the Sambisa Forest, which borders their school in Chibok town and was a known hideout of militants of the Boko Haram terrorist network.

The Borno state education commissioner, Musa Inuwo Kubo, said on Friday night some of the latest escapees were found on Wednesday nearly 50km from their school.

Extremists have attacked schools and slaughtered hundreds of students in the past year. In recent months, they began kidnapping students, who they used as cooks, sex slaves and porters.

But this week’s mass abduction was unprecedented. The attackers also burned down many houses in the town.

A bomb in a busy bus station killed at least 75 people in the Nigerian capital of Abuja on Monday. Twenty others were killed in attacks on two villages. And a soldier and police officer guarding the school in Chibok also were killed.

More than 1,500 people have been killed in the Islamic uprising this year. The attacks undermined claims by the Nigerian government and military that they were containing the insurgency.

Boko Haram believes Western influences are corrupting and wants to install an Islamic state in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s military remained inexplicably absent from Chibok, Kubo said, and he described residents’ “displeasure” that no security forces had come to the area since the attack.

Angry parents and men from the town went into the Sambisa Forest to try to find the students, despite the dangers of confronting extremists.

The defense ministry spokesman, Major General Chris Olukolade, claimed on Wednesday that all but eight of the 129 abducted students had been freed by security forces.

He retracted that statement on Thursday.


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