110 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants

The schoolgirls went missing after jihadists stormed their school in Dapchi, Nigeria

The name Boko Haram translated to 'western education is forbidden'
The name Boko Haram translated to 'western education is forbidden'

Nigeria has deployed extra troops and planes to search for 110 schoolgirls believed to have been abducted by Boko Haram militants last week.

The students went missing after jihadists stormed their school in the town of Dapchi in the north-eastern Yobe state on 19 February.

Their disappearance may represent one of the largest kidnappings since the jihadist group abducted more than 270 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in 2014.

That case drew global attention to the insurgency and spawned the high profile social media campaign .

“The Federal Government has confirmed that 110 students of the Government Science and Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe State, are so far unaccounted for, after insurgents believed to be from a faction of Boko Haram invaded their school on Monday,” the information ministry said in a statement.

The information minister, Lai Mohammed, said police and security officials had been deployed to schools in the state while efforts were being stepped up to rescue the missing girls.

President Muhammadu Buhari said it was a "national disaster" and apologised to the girls' families.

Yobe state government on Wednesday said dozens of the schoolgirls had been rescued by the military, sparking celebrations in the streets, but a day later it issued a statement saying the girls were mostly unaccounted for.

Boko Haram, whose name translates as “western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language widely spoken in northern Nigeria, has killed more than 20,000 people and forced 2 million to flee their homes in a violent insurgency that began in 2009.

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