Aishatu Abdullahi, one of the schoolgirls that escaped Boko Haram’s Monday night attack on Dapchi town of Yobe State, has said it was not all of the students that were so lucky.
According to her, some of the girls may have been taken away by the armed insurgents.
PREMIUM TIMES could not independently verify if some students were indeed kidnapped.
The Yobe State police commissioner, Sunmonu Abdulmaliki, told PREMIUM TIMES Tuesday night that the school was attacked, but no immediate confirmation that any of the schoolgirls were abducted.”
“Quite alright, the school was attacked,” Mr. Abdulmaliki said by telephone. “As at today, both the parents and the school authorities are doing a headcount.”
“The school has up to 900 students, some of them are on farms, some of them have not resumed,” he added. “I am sure by morning tomorrow, I should get the details from the ministry to know whether there are missing children or not.”
Mr. Abdulmaliki had earlier said three men were kidnapped by the insurgents from a nearby community attacked after the attack on Dapchi.
Dapchi town came under heavy attack of the Boko Haram on Monday night leading to residents including students of Government Girls Secondary school, Dapchi, fleeing into the bush.
The seemingly traumatised girl who spoke with a PREMIUM TIMES reporter on phone said the attackers came with the intention of abducting students ”before many of us took to the bushes by scaling the perimeter fence of the school.”
The girl spoke while on her way out of Daphi town following the announced one-week break declared by the school. She said she saw some of the girls ”being forced away by the armed gunmen.”
If confirmed that some of the schoolgirls were indeed kidnapped, it would be reminiscent of the kidnap in April 2014 of over 200 girls from their secondary school in Chibok, Borno State. Dozens of the Chibok girls are still with the Boko Haram, almost four years since the abduction.
According to the Aishatu, who spoke in Hausa, the attackers were not confronted by any security operatives until the school principal placed a call for help while they were hiding in a deserted house not far away from the school.
Her words (translated):
“My name is Aishatu Abdullahi. I am a Senior Secondary (SS) student of GGSS Dapchi.
“I was in the school when the Boko Haram insurgents came at exactly the time we were preparing to break our usual Monday fast. They were shooting guns and everyone was confused; then we started running helter skelter but they were able to. We saw some people pushing some of the students to enter their vehicles.
“There were no soldiers at the time of the invasion. It was later after the principal placed a call that some soldiers came and then we began to see helicopter hovering around the village.
”We were in the mosque when the Boko Haram gunmen came into the town. According to the accounts of some of my mates, the Boko Haram told those that were caught in the mosque to sit on the floor, including our teachers. One of our teacher was injured in his leg and hand – I don’t know if it was from gunshot. We don’t know what later happened, the gunmen later left the people in the mosque.
“They came in three trucks. But they didn’t cart away food from our store as claimed.
“Some of the other schoolgirls ran with some of our teachers to a house near the school. We saw the women in the house running away, but we had to enter and hide inside the house. All of us that escaped including our school principal, the vice principal and some other teachers stayed in the deserted house till morning.
”I cannot say how many of us (were involved) but I know that our game master was able to escape with about 60 students into the bush.
“Many students cannot be accounted for till this moment, some classes are empty, some classes had less than 15 students; some said ten could not be accounted for; mostly all of the classes have missing students.
“Many of us are traumatised; many were even fainting upon hearing any unusual sounds due to the experience.
”The school has given us one week to go home for a break; but in all honesty, I am not willing to come back here because we are scared of what could happen to us in the future.”