Nigeria says 110 girls unaccounted for after Boko Haram attack

ABUJA, Feb 25 (Reuters) - One hundred and ten girls remain unaccounted for following an attack on a school in the town of Dapchi in the northeastern Nigerian state of Yobe by suspected members of Boko Haram, the country's information ministry said on Sunday.

The students' disappearance may be one of the largest such incidents 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 high profile social media campaign Bring Back Our Girls.

"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.

Information Minister Lai Mohammed also said police and security officials had been deployed to schools in the state while efforts were being stepped up to rescue the missing girls.

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Hundreds of girls missing after Boko Haram attack in Nigeria
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Hundreds of girls missing after Boko Haram attack in Nigeria
Relatives are seen during a condolence visit to the mother of one of the abducted Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC) Dapchi students in Jumbam Village, Yobe State, Nigeria February 24, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
Women walk along a street of Dapchi village, Yobe State, Nigeria February 24, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
Relatives of missing school girls react in Dapchi in the northeastern state of Yobe, after an attack on the village by Boko Haram, Nigeria February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Committee chair Bashir Alhaji Manzu, whose teenage daughter Fatima Bashir is missing, speaks on the phone in Dapchi in the northeastern state of Yobe, Nigeria February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
A relative of one of the missing school girls reacts in Dapchi in the northeastern state of Yobe, after an attack on the village by Boko Haram, Nigeria February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
A relative of one of the missing school girls reacts in Dapchi in the northeastern state of Yobe, after an attack on the village by Boko Haram, Nigeria February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
Relatives of missing school girls react in Dapchi in the northeastern state of Yobe, after an attack on the village by Boko Haram, Nigeria February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
A relative of one of the missing school girls reacts in Dapchi in the northeastern state of Yobe, after an attack on the village by Boko Haram, Nigeria February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
Relatives of missing school girls stand in Dapchi in the northeastern state of Yobe, Nigeria February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
Parents of missing school girls check name lists in Dapchi in the northeastern state of Yobe, after an attack on the village by Boko Haram, Nigeria February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
Slippers are pictured at the school compound in Dapchi in the northeastern state of Yobe, where dozens of school girls went missing after an attack on the village by Boko Haram, Nigeria February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Suitcases are pictured inside girls hostel at the school in Dapchi in the northeastern state of Yobe, where dozens of school girls went missing after an attack on the village by Boko Haram, Nigeria February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
A view shows girls hostel at the school in Dapchi in the northeastern state of Yobe, where dozens of school girls went missing after an attack on the village by Boko Haram, Nigeria February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
A bucket is pictured amidst belongings inside girls hostel at the school in Dapchi in the northeastern state of Yobe, where dozens of school girls went missing after an attack on the village by Boko Haram, Nigeria February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
A view shows an empty classroom at the school in Dapchi in the northeastern state of Yobe, where dozens of school girls went missing after an attack on the village by Boko Haram, Nigeria February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
A view shows the school in Dapchi in the northeastern state of Yobe, where dozens of school girls went missing after an attack on the village by Boko Haram, Nigeria February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
Belongings are pictured inside girls hostel at the school in Dapchi in the northeastern state of Yobe, where dozens of school girls went missing after an attack on the village by Boko Haram, Nigeria February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
A view shows an empty classroom at the school in Dapchi in the northeastern state of Yobe, where dozens of school girls went missing after an attack on the village by Boko Haram, Nigeria February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
Unidentified girls, who say they fled during the attack by Boko Haram on their school, pose for a picture in Dapchi, Nigeria February 22, 2018. REUTERS/Ola Lanre
Girls walk to school in the northeastern city of Damaturu, Nigeria February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
A view shows girls hostel at the school in Dapchi in the northeastern state of Yobe, where dozens of school girls went missing after an attack on the village by Boko Haram, Nigeria February 22, 2018. REUTERS/Ola Lanre
A sign for the Government Girls Science and Technology College is pictured in Dapchi, in the northeastern state of Yobe, where dozens of school girls went missing after an attack on the village by Boko Haram, Nigeria February 22, 2018. REUTERS/Ola Lanre
A view shows the school in Dapchi in the northeastern state of Yobe, where dozens of school girls went missing after an attack on the village by Boko Haram, Nigeria February 22, 2018. REUTERS/Ola Lanre
Information Minister Lai Mohammed speaks during his visit to the school in Dapchi in the northeastern state of Yobe, where dozens of school girls went missing after an attack on the village by Boko Haram, Nigeria February 22, 2018. REUTERS/Ola Lanre
TOPSHOT - Hassana Mohammed, 13, who scaled a fence to escape an alleged Boko Haram attack on her Government Girls Science and Technical College, stands outside her home in Dapchi, Nigeria, on February 22, 2018. Anger erupted in a town in remote northeast Nigeria on February 22 after officials fumbled to account for scores of schoolgirls from the college who locals say have been kidnapped by Boko Haram jihadists. Police said on February 21 that 111 girls from the college were unaccounted for following a jihadist raid late on February 19. Hours later, Abdullahi Bego, spokesman for Yobe state governor Ibrahim Gaidam, said 'some of the girls' had been rescued by troops 'from the terrorists who abducted them'. But on a visit to Dapchi on Thursday, Gaidam appeared to question whether there had been any abduction. / AFP PHOTO / AMINU ABUBAKAR (Photo credit should read AMINU ABUBAKAR/AFP/Getty Images)
Residents walk along a street in Dapchi, Nigeria, on February 22, 2018. School girls from Dapchi's Government Girls Science and Technical College were reportedly kidnapped by Boko Haram. Anger erupted in a town in remote northeast Nigeria on February 22 after officials fumbled to account for scores of schoolgirls from the college who locals say have been kidnapped by Boko Haram jihadists. Police said on February 21 that 111 girls from the college were unaccounted for following a jihadist raid late on February 19. Hours later, Abdullahi Bego, spokesman for Yobe state governor Ibrahim Gaidam, said 'some of the girls' had been rescued by troops 'from the terrorists who abducted them'. But on a visit to Dapchi on Thursday, Gaidam appeared to question whether there had been any abduction. / AFP PHOTO / AMINU ABUBAKAR (Photo credit should read AMINU ABUBAKAR/AFP/Getty Images)
A driver tries to secure the school bus at the premises of the Government Girls Science and Technical College staff quarters in Dapchi, Nigeria, on February 22, 2018. Anger erupted in a town in remote northeast Nigeria on February 22 after officials fumbled to account for scores of schoolgirls from the college who locals say have been kidnapped by Boko Haram jihadists. Police said on February 21 that 111 girls from the college were unaccounted for following a jihadist raid late on February 19. Hours later, Abdullahi Bego, spokesman for Yobe state governor Ibrahim Gaidam, said 'some of the girls' had been rescued by troops 'from the terrorists who abducted them'. But on a visit to Dapchi on Thursday, Gaidam appeared to question whether there had been any abduction. / AFP PHOTO / AMINU ABUBAKAR (Photo credit should read AMINU ABUBAKAR/AFP/Getty Images)
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Yobe state government on Wednesday said dozens of the schoolgirls had been rescued by the military, sparking celebration in the streets, but a day later it issued a statement saying the girls were mostly still 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 two million to flee their homes in a violent insurgency that began in 2009.

(Reporting by Felix Onuah; Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram, Editing by William Maclean)

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