CNN’s David McKenzie and team are one of the first Western crews to travel to the town of Dapchi, Nigeria and talk to some of the schoolgirls who managed to escape the Boko Haram attack on their school.
Over 100 of the schoolgirls, some as young as 11 years old, are still missing. Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari called the incident “a national disaster.”
15-year-old student Yagana Mustapha told CNN:
“They came while we were still at the mosque and then we heard the gunshots… we ran towards the gates and then ran out of the gates…The attackers kept on telling others that we should go back. Some of us went back and then others ran into the bushes…When we went back some of our teachers helped us to scale the fence and then we slept in a house outside of the school…We were terrified. Some of us just cried”
Student Zahra Bukar, aged 13, said she had taken medicine to her sick sister when she heard the gunshots started. She tells CNN that the militants were able to abduct her sister right from her bed.
Bukar was suspicious of the men’s claims that they were soldiers because of their shoes.”Soldiers don’t wear flip-flops. They didn’t have the proper footwear like soldiers,” she said.
She told CNN that she initially thought the loud noises were from a transformer explosion.
“At first we didn’t pay attention, then we heard the gunshot a second time and then our teachers began to gather us…While we were gathering, the attackers got into the school so we had to run out of the school.”
The Nigerian army has released a statement saying it withdrew because the area seemed “relatively calm and peaceful.”
“It is so sad and very miserable,” Alhaji Deri, one of the leaders of the newly formed ‘association of the missing schoolgirls’, tells CNN.
He says: “Even those not abducted will not go back to that school again. Their lives are in danger. Who would go back? My demand now is to see our children back. That is our demand. We are pleading for every single community, whether it is international, Nigerian, whoever, to rescue our children in a civil manner.”