FG confirms 110 Dapchi schoolgirls missing, helicopters, jets join search

L-R: Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazau(retd.); Governor of Yobe State, Ibrahim Gaidam; Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; and the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj.Gen. Nicholas Rogers, after a second meeting between the Federal Government’s team and the representatives of key stakeholders following last week’s attack on the Government Science and Technical College, Dapchi in Damaturu… on Sunday. Photo: NAN

The Federal Government has confirmed that 110 pupils of the Government Science and Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe State, are still unaccounted for after Boko Haram terrorists invaded their school on Monday last week.

   The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said this in a statement on Sunday by his Special Adviser, Segun Adeyemi.

According to the statement, Mohammed announced the figure after a meeting between a Federal Government delegation and representatives of key stakeholders in Damaturu, Yobe State capital, on Sunday.

The stakeholders included the state government, the college authorities, parents, security agencies and the Bursari Local Government Area, where Dapchi is situated.

Mohammed said, based on briefings from the principal of the college, Hajia Adama Abdulkarim, and the state Commissioner for Education, Mr. Mohammed Lamin, 906 pupils — out of whom 110 had not been accounted for — were in the school on the day of the attack.

The minister said the Federal Government had stepped up efforts to find the girls and return them safely to their parents.

He said, “This is the second time in four days that a Federal Government delegation will visit Yobe State since the incident.

“This is a measure of the seriousness with which we are addressing the issue. The security forces are leaving no stone unturned in their search for the girls.”

The Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd.), said the delegation embarked on the trip in order to get the facts right “so that the approach to the solution can be correct.’’

“We must get back the girls and also ensure that this does not happen again,’’ he added.

In one of its verified Twitter handles, @Aso Rock, the presidency also said 110 pupils were missing.

The message read in part, “The Federal Government delegation is back in Yobe State today (Sunday), regarding the missing girls of Government Science and Technical Girls College, Dapchi.

“The Federal Government confirmed that 110 students are so far unaccounted for.

“An earlier visit took place Thursday February 22, 2018.”

FG creates situation room, awaits B’Haram contact

The Federal Government is to establish a situation room to harness information about the missing schoolgirls.

The Minister of Interior stated this, adding, “We need to work with the parents, security, the state government and everybody. That is why a kind of situation room is being put together now that will involve traditional rulers, the parents, local people and all the security agencies.”

A highly-placed security source told one of our correspondents on Saturday that the government was working on the suspicion that the Abu Musab al-barnawi-led faction of Boko Haram might be responsible for the abduction of the schoolgirls.

The source said the government expected that the terrorists would reach out to it in the next couple of days.

He said, “Now that we have been able to ascertain the number of missing girls, we are waiting for the terrorists to make contact. We believe that it is the al-barnawi faction of Boko Haram that abducted them because Shekau and his men have been decimated.”

Gaidam blames military again

The Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, has insisted that the military and the defence headquarters that withdrew troops from Dapchi town shortly before the attack and abduction of the schoolgirls in Dapchi are to blame.

According to him, Dapchi town has been peaceful and never witnessed such an incident until barely a week after the military withdrew the troops from the town.

“If the soldiers had been on the ground, the attack on the town and subsequent abduction of the schoolgirls would not have happened.

“This is not the first time the absence of soldiers has exposed our people to attack by Boko Haram. In 2013, a secondary school in Buni-Yadi was attacked a week after the military removed soldiers guarding the town. So, let me be quoted anywhere, the military must take the blame for the attack on Dapchi,” he said.


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