Nigeria Parents Hunt for Missing Girls as Group Claims Blast

The parents of more than 80 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls joined the hunt for their children, a local organization said, as the government grappled with its response to the Boko Haram Islamic group suspected of seizing them.

A total of 129 students at a boarding school in the region of Borno, Boko Haram’s home state, were abducted in a raid by gunmen on April 14. There are 82 school girls still missing, according to Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima, after the rest escaped. Boko Haram was also responsible for a bombing last week in the capital Abuja that killed at least 75 people.

Nigeria is seeking to crack down on Islamists, who are waging a campaign of violence to impose Shariah, or Islamic law, in the country of about 170 million people. The four-year-old insurgency, which has claimed an estimated 4,000 lives, continues in parts of the northeast.

Dozens of girls who escaped abduction in last week’s kidnapping fled without military assistance, and parents of those who remain unaccounted for “have taken to the bush” in the absence of security aid, Bitrus said.

Major-General Chris Olukolade, a defense ministry spokesman, said by phone that military efforts are ongoing, without giving further details.

Last week’s bomb blast in Abuja, which occurred at a bus station on the same day as the kidnapping, also injured 141 people. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau took responsibility for the attack in a video obtained by Bloomberg News.

Attack in Yana

There was another raid before dawn today in the town of Yana. The Government Girls Secondary School was attacked, although no one was hurt, Bauchi state police spokesman Haruna Muhammed said in a text message.

The gunmen also set a police barracks and government office on fire and blew up the vault of a bank. A five-year-old girl was killed in the attack.

Boko Haram, which means “western education is a sin” in the north’s Hausa language, was condemned by the United Nations in February for killing 29 students at a school in Yobe state.

With assistance from Ardo Hazzad in Bauchi

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