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Kidnapping toll in Nigeria jumps to 234

| Monday, April 21, 2014, 6:09 p.m.

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — Parents of girls abducted by Islamist terrorists were searching for their daughters in a remote forest, they told the state governor on Monday, adding that 234 were missing, a much higher figure than authorities said had been kidnapped.

Official figures put the number of abducted girls at 129, and by Saturday afternoon, Borno state governor Kassim Shettima said 77 were unaccounted for, while the other 52 returned.

The mass abduction of teenage schoolgirls by Boko Haram from Chibok school, which the governor visited, shocked Nigeria, a nation long used to hearing about brutal attacks on civilians in the northeast.

It underlined how powerless the military has become at protecting civilians in the areas of Africa's most populous country plagued by the insurgency, despite a state of emergency almost a year old.

Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sinful,” said they are fighting for a breakaway Islamic state in northern Nigeria.

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