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A human rights group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has called on the United Nations (UN) to help secure the release of some 230 schoolgirls of Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, abducted by Boko Haram insurgents from their school over a week ago.
The group, in a statement obtained Thursday by the Associated Press (AP), urged the UN through several of its agencies to "urgently intervene" and provide "international assistance and support to the Nigerian authorities to secure the release of the children and to ensure that they get back to school."
The terrorists had in a dawn raid, attacked the school and took the pupils away from the school.
The initial report by the Defence Headquarters in the aftermath of the attack on the school had put the figure of the abducted pupils at 129. It also said a day after the abduction that 121 of them had been freed, remaining only eight in captivity.
But when the state government and the principal of the school, Asabe Kwabura, said only 14 pupils had been accounted for, the Defence Headquarters was forced to recant.
Also, a breakdown provided by the state government shows that of the 129 students who were in the school on the night of the attack, 14 escaped that same night from their captors when the truck they were being conveyed in broke down; 16 girls were returned to the school penultimate Thursday by their parents in response to the state government’s call to enable it take a proper account of the students that were really missing; another 14 were discovered penultimate Friday, having also escaped from their abductors; one girl was returned by her parents on Saturday; and another seven escaped captivity later, bringing the total number of girls that have been accounted for to 52.
But at a meeting with the state Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, in Chibok, the parents of the pupil who disputed the number of schoolgirls abducted said they were 234 and not 129.
They also disagreed with the number of those that have been accounted for, saying contrary to the claim that they were 52, only 39 had been found.
The delay in rescuing the pupils has continued to generate criticism as the parents and other stakeholders accused the federal government of not doing enough to free them.
Some of the parents on Wednesday also expressed fear that the abductees could be forced into marriage with the insurgents and called on government to urgently deploy all resources to rescue the victims.