Parents of school girls abducted last Tuesday from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State by Boko Haram terrorists, yesterday, recounted their experience in the dreaded Sambisa forest in search of their daughters who are being held there.
The aggrieved, traumatised parents who spoke when the state governor, Kashim Shettima visited the school, also disputed the figures provided by the state government of those who have escaped.
The parents had vowed last week to sacrifice their lives and storm the forest because the military had allegedly failed to enter the forest and rescue their children.
“While we were in the forest with over 200 volunteers who only had cutlasses, bows, arrows and sticks, we came across different make-shift camps suspected to be owned by terrorists. It is however unfortunate that we had to turn back when we met one good Samaritan in the forest who advised us that it was in our own interest to go back because the area we were approaching in the forest was a dead zone dominated by terrorists.
Narrating their experience, Mallam Amos Chiroma who was among those who combed the Sambisa forest told Vanguard: “We saw a lot of strange things in the Sambisa forest but we will not be able to disclose all for security reasons. Borno and indeed this country require prayers from all and sundry.
“If soldiers had accompanied us to the forest, we were optimistic that our missing children would have been rescued, or we would be satisfied if we can just see the dead bodies of our daughters”.
Another parent, Mallam Shettima Yau Haruna, who spoke on behalf of parents of the abducted school girls, told the governor that since the incident, they have been having sleepless nights and they summoned courage to enter the Sambisa forest.
He said: “We want to seize this opportunity to thank you for the visit and identify with us at this sorrowful moment. But the truth of the matter is that only 39 out of about 250 students have so far been rescued contrary to official reports that 44 students were rescued out of 129 who were abducted as they were preparing to write their senior secondary school certificate examinations.
”We want to emphasise that we are not happy with this development. While we continue to pray for the safe return of our daughters, we therefore appeal to government and our security operatives to please intensify the search for our missing innocent children”, Haruna said.
Our correspondent who visited the school, yesterday, observed that the entire structure and vehicles in the school were set ablaze as well as the council secretariat and the residence of the caretaker chairman.
Governor Shettima, while addressing parents of the abducted students sympathised with them and promised to deploy all human and material resources towards the safe release of the missing students.
He, however, called on all and sundry to continue to pray and fast for the safe return of the abducted girls.