After the mass kidnapping this week of 129 teen girls from a Nigerian school, 14 have reportedly escaped—and the rest may still be held captive. Some 52 were still said by their parents to be missing yesterday, the New York Times reports, but the school's principal put it in bleaker terms to CNN: "A total of 14 ... managed to escape and the rest are still being held by their captors." And authorities believe those girls could be forced into sex slavery, a governor in the region tells the Times. The kidnappers "are young men,” says governor Kashim Shettima, “and most of these ladies will be turned into their sex slaves and cooks."
The girls' school is near a stronghold of the Boko Haram militant group; as many as 40 of the kidnappers came to the school on motorcycles, a typical form of transportation for Boko Haram members, Shettima says. Meanwhile, the Nigerian military had on Wednesday claimed that all but eight of the girls were freed—but yesterday it walked back the report, which was "not intended to deceive the public," said Director of Defense Chris Olukolade. He didn't say how many were still missing: "The number of those still missing is not the issue now as the life of every Nigerian is very precious." Nigerians have learned to doubt military claims of success against the militant group, CNN reports. (Read more Nigeria stories.)