Nigeria’s military authorities have acknowledged that they goofed over their statement that all but eight of the 129 abducted school girls of a secondary school in Chibok, Borno state, have been freed from their Boko Haram captors.
The statement was flatly denied by the principal of the school and the parents of the girls.
A statement late on Thursday from Defence Headquarters spokesman Maj. General Chris Olukolade concurred with this.
“In the light of the denial by the principal of the school, the Defence Headquarters wishes to defer to the school principal and governor’s statement on the number of students still missing and retract (the) … earlier statement while the search continues,” Olukolade said.
“So far, we have seen 20 students, many of whom escaped from the abductors. The principal of the school has so far received (them),” Borno state Education Commissioner Inuwa Kubo said from the school.
“Many of the parents are still waiting in pain.”
Kubo said the girls who were free had escaped, rather than been rescued by Nigerian troops. Olukolade did not comment on that claim in his statement.
An uncle of two teenagers snatched by Boko Haram militants from the government secondary school at Chibok in Borno state said the search was still going on.
“Two of my nieces, Laraba and Hauwa, are still missing, … 20 other girls from our village are missing,” Isaiah Rabo told Reuters by phone from Chibok. His daughter was among those who escaped from the abductors.