Nigerian police have requested that parents produce photographs of the reportedly 223 missing school girls.
The state police commissioner of Borno, Tanko Lawan, told BBC that authorities needed to confirm exactly who was missing since school records were burned in the attack. The headmistress of the school in Chibok was drafting a list but had difficulty since some the students taking final exams came from neighboring towns. Those girls were in Chibok because the town was believed to have been relatively safe from attack.
Lawan said 53 of the girls were believed to have escaped, but it’s hard to tell because some parents may not have informed authorities if their daughters returned home.
“That’s why we’re appealing to parents to come with their photographs so that we know actually [that] these are the numbers we are dealing with,” he told the BBC Hausa service.
The Islamist group Boko Haram is believed to be behind the abductions, but it hasn’t responded to the accusations. It was initially thought that militants took the girls to the Sambisa forest, but now there is growing fear they have been taken over the borders into Chad and Cameroon and forced into marriage.
Last week, an advisor to Nigeria’s president said the government would welcome international assistance.
“We could provide military help to the Nigerians to track down the whereabouts of the girls before they’re dispersed throughout Africa – like air support, for example, if that was thought necessary,” said former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to The Guardian.