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Parents Say 234 Girls Are Missing From School In Nigeria

Disturbing news from Nigeria about girls kidnapped last week from their school by Islamist extremists grew even more distressing on Monday when parents told authorities that 234 of the young women are still missing.

That's nearly triple the number — 85 — that officials have been reporting.

According to The Associated Press:

"The higher figure came out a week after the kidnappings when the Borno state governor insisted a military escort take him to the town [of Chibok]. Parents told the governor that officials would not listen to them when they drew up their list of names of missing children and the total reached 234.

"The discrepancy in the figures could not immediately be resolved."

Since extremists thought to be from the group known as Boko Haram attacked the school a week ago:

-- Authorities claimed that 100 had been kidnapped, but all but eight escaped or were freed within 48 hours.

-- Authorities retracted that claim after the school's principal said at least 100 girls were still missing.

Now, as the AP says, there's this "latest confusion." According to the wire service, "parents and other town residents have joined the search for the students in the Sambisa Forest which borders Chibok town and is a known hideout for the militants."

As we said, Nigerian authorities suspect the radical Islamist group Boko Haram is behind the abductions. It objects to Western culture, and in particular Western schools.

Boko Haram also is being blamed for a deadly attack last week near Nigeria's capital, Abuja. More than 70 people were killed and dozens more injured when a bomb went off at a bus station. The explosion set off other blasts as vehicles in the vicinity burned.

We have posted about Boko Haram many times in the past two years. Among previous attacks blamed on that group:

-- February 2014. More Than Two Dozen Boys Killed In Attack On Nigerian School.

-- September 2013. Militants Kill Students In Dorms At Nigerian College.

-- June 2012. Church Bombings And Reprisal Killings In Nigeria.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.

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