ABUJA, Nigeria, April 18 (UPI) -- The Nigerian military retracted its claim on Thursday that 121 of the 129 girls abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School in northeastern Nigeria earlier in the week "have been freed."
Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade said Friday that the declaration of the girls' release on Wednesday was "not intended to deceive the public." Instead, he claimed the announcement was based on information attributed to a reliable source with information from the girls' principal regarding their release.
The principal, Asabe Kwambura, refutes the military's assertion and maintains that "A total of 14 out of the 129 students taken away managed to escape and the rest are still being held by captors."
Family members of the missing girls are distraught. One father, Lawan Zanna, accused the government of "blatant propaganda" and engaging in a "blatant lie."
Suspected Islamist Boko Haram militants attacked the boarding school on Monday night, exchanging gunfire with school guards, and then taking the school girls with them into vehicles and then, said one girl who escaped "They left with us in a convoy into the bush ... A group of motorcyclists flanked the convoy to ensure none of us escaped."
Some girls managed to escape when the vehicle they were riding in broke down. Three girls escaped Wednesday from their captors.