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Four more abducted schoolgirls escape Boko Haram

Four more girls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants in April have escaped their captors, the education commissioner for Borno state said on Wednesday.

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The girls were taking exams at a secondary school in the remote northeastern village of Chibok on April 14 when Islamist gunmen surrounded the school, loaded 276 of the girls – who are between 12 and 17 years old – onto trucks and carted them off.

Fifty-three girls escaped shortly afterwards. The escape of the four girls means 219 are still being held hostage.

Education Commissioner Musa Inuwa declined to give further details of the escape.

The girls’ abduction has shone an international spotlight on the the militants, whose violent struggle for an Islamic state in northern Nigeria has killed thousands and turned them into the biggest threat to security in Africa’s top oil-producing state.

Boko Haram means “Western education is a sin” in the northern Hausa language and the militants have been known to target schools.

Chief of Defence Staff Air Marshal Alex Badeh said on Tuesday the military knew where the abducted girls were but ruled out a rescue by force for fear of endangering them.

Many Nigerian officials and civilians think launching a raid to rescue them would run the risk that the girls would be killed by their captors.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

 

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