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Most Of The Dozens Of Girls Abducted In Nigeria Reportedly Free

9:45 a.m. ET, April 17: The latest developments have changed this story. We've put up a news post with this headline: Fate Of Girls Abducted In Nigeria Now Uncertain.

Our post from April 16:

Most of the 100 Nigerian schoolgirls who were kidnapped have been freed, Nigeria's military reports. Only eight are still unaccounted for.

Soldiers, "vigilantes and volunteers," CNN writes, had been searching for the students who were reportedly in the hands of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

The schoolgirls, along with about 100 other girls, were grabbed by Boko Haram gunmen on Monday in the northeastern Nigerian town of Chibok after a firefight with guards at their school. The Associated Press says one soldier and a police officer died in the battle.

The Daily Post, a Nigerian online newspaper, reports that at least 80 girls either escaped or were rescued Tuesday when the truck they were being transported in broke down.

As Voice of America notes:

"There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack or the kidnapping. [But] the assault is similar to others carried out by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which is blamed for scores of attacks and thousands of deaths since launching an insurgency in 2009.

"The group, whose name means 'Western education is a sin,' wants to impose strict Islamic law on northern Nigeria."

"In the past, boys have been killed. They have had their throats slit, like sacrificial lambs," NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports. She adds that girls, on the other hand, "have been spared, but with the warning ... 'Go home, get married and stop school.' "

Boko Haram is also being blamed for a deadly attack Monday 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.

Update at 7:15 p.m. ET. Most Of The Girls Are Free:

Nigeria's military says only eight girls are still unaccounted for. The announcement was made in a "very short statement," NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton says on All Things Considered. What is still unclear, she says, is "how the girls became free, whether they were rescued by soldiers, and what condition they're in." CNN reports that the search continues:

"One of the alleged attackers has been captured, and a military search-and-rescue operation was ongoing to 'ensure the safety of the remaining students,' Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade said on Wednesday."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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.