Parents: Kidnappers Took 234 Nigerian Girls, Not 85
Significantly more than initially reported; Boko Haram suspected
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 21, 2014 12:49 PM CDT
In a 2013 file photo, Chris Olukolade, Nigeria's top military spokesman. The fate of abducted schoolgirls was uncertain Thursday, when their principal denied the military claim that almost all were freed.   (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell, File)

(Newser) – Some 234 girls are missing from the northeast Nigerian school attacked last week by Islamic extremists, significantly more than the 85 or so reported by education officials, parents told the state governor today. The higher figure came out a week after the kidnappings when the Borno state governor insisted a military escort take him to the town of Chibok, where the school is located. Parents told the governor that officials would not listen to them when they drew up their list of names of missing children and the total reached 234. The discrepancy in the figures could not immediately be resolved.

This latest confusion comes after the military had reported last week that all but eight of those abducted had been freed—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. (Some of the girls are said to have escaped on their own, however.) Parents and other town residents have joined the search for the students in the Sambisa Forest that borders the town, a known hideout for Boko Haram, the militants believed to be behind the kidnappings. The Islamic extremist rebels have been abducting some girls and young women to use as porters, cooks, and sex slaves, according to Nigerian officials.