Nigeria steps up rescue efforts of 110 missing schoolgirls

Nigeria’s air force said on Sunday that it had deployed additional air assets to the northeast to search for girls missing after an attack on their school by suspected members of Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

The government said 110 girls, out of a total of 906 students, remain unaccounted for after the attack on Monday at the school in the town of Dapchi, in Yobe state.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari had said troops and reconnaissance aircraft would be used in the search, while also recognizing that the ordeal was a "national disaster" and apologised to the girls' families.

The attack has revived memories of the Chibok schoolgirl abduction in 2014.

SEE ALSO :Nigerian ex-minister and Chibok girls champion to run for president

Anger has been growing among the girls' parents amid reports that soldiers had been withdrawn from key checkpoints in Dapchi last month.

Residents say that Nigeria's security forces, backed by military jets, later repelled the attack.

Authorities initially denied the students had been kidnapped, saying they were hiding from their attackers.

But they later admitted that 110 girls were missing after the attack.

Boko Haram militants have been fighting a long insurgency in the country's north in their quest for an Islamic state in the region.

SEE ALSO :Chibok girls campaigner wants to become Nigeria's first woman President

Nearly four years ago they abducted 276 girls from a school in Chibok, leading to a global #BringBackOurGirls campaign. The location of more than 100 of those girls is still unknown.

The conflict is estimated to have killed tens of thousands of people, and led to the abduction of thousands.

boko haram insurgencyboko haramchibok girlsnigerian schoolgirls missingnigeria president muhammud buhari