Local authorities in Nigeria on Friday announced the abduction of schoolgirls in the northwest of the country by a terrorist group. A spokesman for the governor of Zamfara state would not say how many schoolchildren were involved, only confirming the abduction of students from a school in the region.
"Unknown gunmen came shooting sporadically and took the girls away," Sulaiman Tanau Anka told Reuters. "The information available to me says they came with vehicles and took the students out, they also moved some on foot," he added. He further said security forces were present in the area.
A teacher at Jangebe Government Girls Secondary School, who requested anonymity, said "more than 300 girls are missing after a head count of the remaining students".
On Wednesday, the Nigerian army reported the recapture of a strategic town in the northeast of the country that had been captured by terrorists the previous week. The soldiers, backed by fighter jets, managed to retake the town of Marti and neighbouring towns on Lake Chad from the terrorists after fierce battles, the army confirmed in a statement.
The statement added that "the soldiers, backed by air cover, managed to enter Marti and destroy homemade bombs and landmines on their way".
The army claimed that government forces were in complete control of the area and that dozens of terrorists were killed during the battle.
Terrorists believed to be affiliated with Daesh in West Africa took control of the Marti military base on 15 February in northeastern Nigeria, killing eight soldiers. The army chief gave his soldiers a 48-hour deadline to retake the town during a visit to his forces fighting the terrorists in the northeast.
Security sources reported that many citizens have been trapped inside since the terrorists seized it.
In November last year, thousands of people returned to their homes in Marti after they were forced to flee in 2014 due to insecurity.
People displaced by the conflict with terrorists will be able to return to their villages and towns once the camps they are staying in reach full capacity, the authorities encourage.
Jihadist factions are a major threat in West Africa because they launch attacks on soldiers and bases, as well as kidnapping car passengers on main roads after setting up ambushes and mock roadblocks.