The Federal Government has revised its original number of the people that were kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists in Dapchi, Yobe State in February 2018, revealing that three more students had previously been unaccounted for.
The schoolgirls had been kidnapped from Government Girls Science and Technical Secondary School by terrorists on February 19, 2018, during an attack on their school but 105 were released on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, to wild jubilation in Dapchi.
While speaking about the abduction in a press conference in Lagos on Sunday, March 25, 2018, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said instead of the initial 110 schoolgirls that were reported missing, 111 were actually abducted by the terrorists, with another two unconnected hostages, making it 113 in total.
According to him, the school authorities had made an error in their initial evaluation and omitted one student.
He said, "Gentlemen, a total of 111 girls were abducted from the Government Girls Secondary and Technical College (GGSTC) in Dapchi on 19 Feb. 2018. That means one student was not captured on the list of 110 abducted students that was compiled by the school, on the basis of which the Federal Government gave the number of abducted schoolgirls as 110."
The minister further revealed that two other people were abducted with the schoolgirls when terrorists invaded the town. He said one of them is a primary school boy who was at the school to sell pure water when the abduction happened, and the other is a primary school girl.
"Also kidnapped were two other persons, who are not students of the college. They include a primary school boy who came to the school to sell pure water and another primary school girl. That brings the total number of abducted persons on that day to 113. So far, a total of 107 persons, comprising 105 Dapchi schoolgirls and the two non-students, have been released by the insurgents," he said.
While the Federal Government had initially claimed that 104 girls, with the other two hostages making 106, were released last week, President Muhammadu Buhari had announced when he met them in the Presidential Villa on Friday, March 23, that a total of 107 had returned with 105 of them being Dapchi girls.
This had created some confusion as the freed girls had reported that five of them had died during the abduction, with another one still with the terrorists.
One of the released schoolgirls, Khadija Grema, told Channels Television on Wednesday that five of her schoolmates died of heart attack and stress as a result of the long trip while the terrorists have held on to 15-year-old Leah Sharibufor refusing to renounce her Christian faith and convert to Islam.
Mohammed's clarification about the extra girl clears up the confusion although he didn't address reports of the dead schoolgirls, saying instead that the government is still working to secure their release.
"Six Dapchi schoolgirls are yet unaccounted for. All efforts will be made to secure their release," he said.