110 girls missing from Dapchi

Another one.

The troubling details of a kidnapping that unfolded last week in the rural community of Dapchi in northern Nigeria after Boko Haram attacked a school and apparently made off with teenage hostages horrified the nation. As many as 110 girls have been missing since Monday, when armed militants stormed the school.

Many Nigerians were all the more outraged that the attack and the events that followed mirrored a similar kidnapping of nearly 300 schoolgirls in 2014 in the community of Chibok.

That episode grabbed the world’s attention and elicited promises from officials that it would never happen again. Nearly four years later, an estimated 112 of those students are still held hostage.

“Not even our 112 Chibok Girls would imagine ANY more Daughters of Nigeria would be FAILED AGAIN,” Oby Ezekwesili, a founder of the Bring Back Our Girls group that advocates the release of the Chibok students, said on Twitter.

There’s uncertainty about how many girls were kidnapped because some have been hiding and are slowly making their way back.

Officials have been careful to avoid acknowledging anyone was kidnapped in Dapchi. Instead, they say only that the girls are missing.

Witnesses, however, described seeing the girls in militants’ vehicles as part of what appeared to be a deliberate plan to steal them. And they said militants arrived at the town looking specifically for the building, which is a boarding place with about 900 students.

One resident who lives a mile outside Dapchi, who asked that his name not be used because he feared for his safety, said his neighbor was outside his home late in the day on Monday when militants pulled up, grabbed him and asked him to point them to the school. He told the fighters he didn’t know where it was and begged to be released. They threw him aside and headed toward the town.

Schools are soft targets.

Then, late Wednesday, the state’s governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, announced that the missing girls had been rescued. The next day, parents streamed into the school, expecting to hear news of their missing daughters.

But when Mr. Gaidam arrived, he apologized, saying he was mistaken and had relied on security officials whose information had turned out to be false. He told the crowd to view the events as part of God’s plan and to pray for the girls’ return, said Modu Goniri, a father whose two daughters are still missing.

As he spoke, some parents began wailing uncontrollably. A few fainted.

In nine months some of them will have grandchildren.

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