Nigeria’s military has rescued 76 schoolgirls and recovered the bodies of two others on Wednesday, after the students went missing during a Boko Haram attack on a village.
The rescue was confirmed to Reuters by three parents, a resident and government officials.
More than 90 schoolgirls were feared missing after the attack on the village of Dapachi in the Northeastern state of Yobe.
I hope my daughter is not one of those abducted as we learned that over ninety of them were not seen after going through their register book
Earlier, President Muhammadu Buhari dispatched his foreign and defence ministers on Wednesday to Yobe to investigate the situation, said Information Minister Lai Mohammed, who was also headed there.
A roll-call at the girls’ school on Tuesday showed that 91 students were absent, said the two people with direct knowledge of the matter.
“I saw girls crying and wailing in three Tata vehicles and they were crying for help,” said a witness from the nearby village of Gumsa who was reportedly forced to show the insurgents the way out of the area and then released.
Seven parents told Reuters their daughters were among the missing.
“I hope my daughter is not one of those abducted as we learned that over ninety of them were not seen after going through their register book,” one parent said.
The Boko Haram militants arrived in Dapchi on Monday evening in trucks, some mounted with heavy guns and painted in military camouflage, witnesses told Reuters.
They went directly to the school, shooting sporadically, sending students and teachers fleeing, the witnesses said, adding that some people had returned to Dapchi after spending the night hiding in the bush.
More than 20,000 people have been killed and two million forced to flee their homes in the northeast of Africa’s most populous nation since Boko Haram began its insurgency in 2009.
Of around 270 girls originally abducted from their school in Chibok in April 2014, about 60 escaped soon afterwards and others have since been released after mediation. Around 100 are still believed to be in captivity.
Last month, the group released a video purporting to show some of the Chibok girls still in its custody, saying they do not wish to return home.
Aid groups say Boko Haram has kidnapped thousands more adults and children, many of whose cases are neglected.