April 23, 2014 07:44
The parents of Nigerian schoolgirls who were abducted last week by Islamist extremists say 234 girls are still missing, a much higher figure than authorities have given.
On Monday, the parents said they have been working on compiling a complete registry of all the girls who were abducted from the Chibok secondary school in the country's northeast.
Authorities have said 129 girls were kidnapped last week. They say 52 of them later escaped, leaving 77 still unaccounted for.
The discrepancy in the figures is the latest confusion surrounding the kidnappings. Last week, Nigeria's military said almost all of the abducted girls had been rescued, but then retracted the statement the following day.
Parents in Chibok tell VOA that a group of them formed a search party and spent several days traveling through the local forests to look for the girls. They say they returned home after being warned against getting too close to the militants who are believed to be holding the schoolgirls.
The Nigerian military also has launched search efforts for the students.
There have been no claims of responsibility for the kidnappings. However, they are believed to have been carried out by the Islamist extremist group, Boko Haram.
The group's name means "Western education is a sin." Boko Haram wants to impose strict Islamic law on northern Nigeria and is blamed for scores of attacks and thousands of deaths since launching an insurgency in 2009.
Last week's kidnappings were carried out on the same day that a bomb blast went off in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, killing 75 people. Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for that bomb attack.
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