MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — Police said friday the number of kidnapped schoolgirls who remain missing in Nigeria is 276, up by more than 30 from a previous estimate.
They said the actual number abducted by the Islamic extremists on April 14 was more than 300. Police Commissioner Tanko Lawan revised the number of girls and young women who have escaped to 53.
He said the known number of abducted girls rose because students from other schools were brought into one school for final exams last month after all schools in Borno state were shut because of attacks by Islamic extremists. The ability of authorities to get a handle on how many girls were affected was hampered by poor communications, with the military often cutting cell phone service under a state of emergency and travel made dangerous on roads where travelers are frequently attacked by the militants.
“That is why, after the unfortunate incident, there were various numbers flying around,” Lawan said.
The mass abduction comes in conjunction with two bombings in three weeks in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. Hundreds of women protested the mass kidnapping in at least three cities this week and the failure of security forces to rescue the girls.
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