UK & World News

  • 28 May 2014, 20:00

Kidnapped Boko Haram Girls 'Escape Captors'

Four of the kidnapped Nigerian girls being held by Boko Haram militants have escaped, a local education official has said.

Reuters reported that the election commissioner in Borno state - the state where the girls were abducted from - revealed the four had managed to get free but declined to give further details of the escape.

It leaves 219 still missing, according to official figures.

The youngsters were taking exams at a secondary school in the remote northeastern village of Chibok on April 14 when gunmen from Boko Haram surrounded it, loaded them on to trucks and carted them off.

Fifty-three were able to escape shortly afterwards, officials in Borno said.

The girl's abduction has shone a light on the activities of the militant group, which released a video featuring around 130 of the youngsters they had abducted.

The Nigerian military has said it knows where the girls are, but it is too dangerous to rescue them. In the past, some kidnap victims have been killed during rescue attempts in Nigeria.

But the US State Department on Tuesday said it did not have information which could "support Nigeria's claim it has located the kidnapped girls".

Pressure has continued to increase on Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to take action after international experts were sent to the country to assist in the search.

Among those campaigning on Wednesday were students from Midreshet Shalhevet High School for Girls in New York who took their protest to the Nigerian consulate.

The escape comes a day after dozens of soldiers and police officers were killed during a rocket attack in Buni Yadi, in northeast Nigeria.

Towns in the area have been regularly affected by violence involving the Islamist group, which has been conducting a campaign against the authorities and what it sees as 'Western education'.