Parents Say 234 Girls Missing After Nigeria School Attack

The figure has sparked confusion, given that education officials reported 85 students missing.

Posted: 04/21/2014 04:30 PM EDT

More than five days after a terrorist attack on a northeast Nigerian school, some 234 girls remain missing, according to the family of the students. The Islamist extremist rebels, Boko Haram, have been blamed for the mass abduction.

Parents told the Borno state governor, Kasim Shettima, on Monday that local education officials had disregarded their list of missing children and reported only 85 missing. The higher number was released following Gov. Shettima's recent visit to the town of Chibok accompanied by a military escort. 

The discrepancy in the figures have yet to be resolved, AP reports

Despite a town-wide search and the efforts of security forces who claim to be in "hot pursuit" of the abductors, none of the girls and young women have been rescued. The students are believed to be held in the depths of the town's bordering Sambisa Forest, a known hideout for the militants.

“I’m a mother, and I feel it. I feel it. I feel very sad because we don’t know where they take all these children," one local woman told Voices of America. Her niece was one of the hundreds captured. 

Although Boko Haram has not claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, the Islamist insurgent group has killed thousands of people in the past several years, including scores of school children. Young women captured by the group are often used as cooks, porters and sex slaves.

Last week, Boko Haram staged four attacks in three days, including a massive explosion at a busy bus station during rush hour. At least 75 people were killed and 141 injured. 

AP reports that more than 1,500 people have been killed in extremist attacks this year alone, compared to an estimated 3,600 between 2010 and 2013.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Stringer)

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