More Nigerian schoolgirls have been reported missing after the Boko Haram extremist group attacked a school in the northeastern state of Yobe.
People with knowledge of the incident said 91 students did not appear in class when teachers made the roll-call on Tuesday.
The disappearance has raised fears of another mass kidnapping by Boko Haram. The terror group took 276 girls from the school in the village of Chibok in April 2014.
That kidnapping sparked worldwide anger and led to the formation of the Bring Back Our Girls movement. Nearly four years later, more than 100 of the Chibok girls are still missing.
Fearing a repeat of the Chibok kidnappings, parents and guardians gathered Wednesday at the Government Girls Science Secondary School in the town of Dapchi demanding information.
An uncle of one missing student said, "Our girls have been missing for two days and we don't know their whereabouts."
A witness from the village of Gumsa, said "I saw girls crying and wailing in three Tata vehicles and they were crying for help."
Witnesses told Reuters Boko Haram militants arrived in Dapchi Monday evening in trucks, some armed with heavy guns. They said the militants immediately went to the school firing their guns. The witnesses also said that Nigerian security forces launched a search and rescue mission shortly after.
Nigerian police and the regional education ministry have denied the kidnappings happened. The state ministry of education also denied the kidnappings. However, they closed the school for a week to permit students and their families to reunite.
Harming the communities
Boko Haram began its rebellion in 2009, and has had a very harmful effect on the communities in northeastern Nigeria.
The group has taken thousands of women and young girls, as well as boys and men old enough to fight.
In addition, more than 20,000 people have been killed and 2 million others, mostly from the Borno state area, have been forced to leave their homes. Another 200,000 Nigerians have taken refuge in neighboring states.
The charity Doctors Without Borders says hundreds of thousands of people who have been forced to very rural areas of Borno are now totally dependent on outside aid for survival.
I’m Jonathan Evans.
This story was originally written by Wayne Lee and Lisa Schlein for VOAnews.com. Phil Dierking adapted her story for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.
How do you think the international community should support Nigeria and the missing girls? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.
Words in This Story
roll-call - n. he act of saying each of the names on a list to find out who is present
wail - v. to make a loud, long cry of sadness or pain
whereabouts - n. the location of a person or thing
vulnerable - adj. easily hurt or harmed physically, mentally, or emotionally