Yobe school attack: We’re yet to locate 105 girls — Parents

No fewer than 105 students may be missing in the aftermath of Monday’s invasion of the Government Girls’ Science Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, by suspected Boko Haram terrorists.

The names were personally submitted to the school’s authorities by the parents of the affected students, according to the Chairman, Forum of Parents of the missing Dapchi Girls, Mallam Bashir Manzo.

Governor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe State said 84 students remain missing.

The list obtained by The Nation contains the name of each missing student,her local government area and telephone numbers of her parents.

A mix of tension and mourning pervaded the community for the fifth day running yesterday when The Nation visited the area.

Residents said it was clear from the behaviour of invaders on Monday that their mission was solely to abduct the students.

Manzo said when the gunmen demanded that they be shown the way to the school, some residents tried to play a fast one on them and sent them in a wrong direction.

However the gunmen soon found out their destination when they heard the students shouting.

Manzo, recalling the sequence of events on the fateful day, said: “On Monday, Boko Haram entered our town and started shouting. We just came out from Magrib prayers when the shooting started.

“The shooting by Boko Haram sparked confusion at the school with everyone running helter-skelter.

“When they came, they didn’t even know where the school was located. They came and asked some people to show them the girls’ school.

“The first person they asked to show them the school took them to Central Primary School.

“They eventually found out the girls’ school when the students were screaming and trying to jump over the fence in a bid to escape.

“They rounded up as many girls as they could lay their hands on and packed them into their vehicles.

“They then escaped.

“The following day, the school authorities took a roll call of children in the school, but they did not give us the figure.

“The list we have here is from the parents that came themselves and reported that they had not seen their children up till this moment (yesterday).

“When a parent comes, he gives us his name himself, the name of his child, his town, local government area and his phone number. We are not collating these names by any phone call or text message. You have to come yourself and give your name and the name of your daughter that is missing, otherwise we will not accept anything short of that.

“The list we have got now is one hundred and five students that have not been found up till today (yesterday).

“We had a report that these children were found at Gaidam and people celebrated. We even gathered that the children would be handed over to the governor here in Dapchi.

“When the governor came, we were gathered at the house of the District Head and the governor told us that none of the girls had been rescued. The governor said he was not sure whether our children are in Boko Haram’s captivity, but we are sure that Boko Haram took our children. We have evidence.

“When they took them (children), they were crying and screaming for help. They came through the Gumsa Road and went back on the same road.

“Residents of villages along that road heard the children crying and screaming in the vehicles.

“In one of the villages, residents overheard the insurgents saying they needed to tie the children well so that they won’t escape.

“We are calling on those that would help us get back our children to help us. We are sure Boko Haram took our children. This one is an undisputable fact. That is the truth. We gave our children to the school authorities and so they should bring back our children. We will go as far as meeting President Buhari.

“They only came to get the girls and not to do anything in this town.

“We took the photographs of the store of the school and everything is intact. No single food item was removed.

“We are not happy with the delegation of the Federal Government. They did not look for the principal or the parents of the missing girls or enter any office of the principal or a classroom in the school when they visited Dapchi.”

Governor Gaidam, however, said yesterday that from the figures available to him, 84 students remain missing.

He put the students’ population at 906 out of which 822 were marked present after the attack.

Gaidam spoke yesterday when his Kano State counterpart, Abdullahi Ganduje paid him a visit in Damaturu.

The Yobe governor expressed surprise that security men were unexpectedly withdrawn from the town a few hours before the attack.

He said the attack is a major setback in the war against Boko Haram.