UK & World News

  • 10 May 2014, 9:13

Kidnapped Nigerian Schoolgirls Tell Of Escape

Schoolgirls who escaped from the Islamist militant group Boko Haram in Nigeria have told of their harrowing ordeal as the search for those still held captive continues.

One described being shot at as she ran from the gunmen when she was sent to fetch water.

Another spoke of how she and a friend jumped from a moving lorry as it slowed down, despite the threat of being killed, and spent a night in the bush before making their way to safety.

The schoolgirls gave their accounts to the distraught mothers of those still being held hostage.

"They took us away in a convoy of lorries," one of them said.

"We travelled through the night before reaching the final destination in the forest.

"The following day we were sent to fetch water. That was when we seized the opportunity and bolted.

"Even when they were shooting at us, we took the chance and God helped us arrive in Chibok two days later."

The other girl added: "They threatened to shoot anyone who tried to escape. As the vehicle slowed down along the road I jumped down with my friend.

"We spent the night in the bush and trekked back to Chibok the next day."

The girls' accounts came as it was reported the kidnapped girls had been split into four groups, complicating the search to find them and making any potential rescue more difficult.

The UK has sent a group of experts to offer advice and logistical support in the hunt for the 276 missing girls, who were kidnapped from a boarding school in the northern village ofChibokalmost four weeks ago.

Air and satellite surveillance is to be extended to the neighbouring countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger amid fears the girls may be trafficked across the border to be sold as slaves by their captors.

The leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, has threatened to sell the girls "on the market".

Their kidnap triggered international condemnation and led to a high-profile campaign calling for their release.

Prime Minister David Cameron told Sky News the abduction is "a ghastly situation, an act of pure evil".

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