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No one seems to know how many Nigerian girls are actually missing

Women march in Abuja on Wednesday to demand action on the missing students. (Philip Ojisua/AFP/Getty Images)

The number of girls and young women who are reported missing after being taken from a school in northeastern Nigeria continues to climb.

Police said that the number of girls missing is up to 276 and that more than 300 were abducted April 14, the Associated Press reports. Fifty-three have escaped, they said.

Here's what has been reported on the number of missing girls and young women:

The original estimate was that about 100 girls were kidnapped. Then, on April 16, the military reported that all but eight were freed, the AP says.

On April 17, that statement was retracted, and the school's principal said 129 were missing, and 14 had been returned. On the 18th, Nigerian authorities said that 85 were still missing and that 24 had escaped, for a total of 109.

On April 21, parents said 234 were still missing, Reuters said, while officials said 77 were still missing and 52 had been accounted for, for 129 total kidnapped. A day later, parents gave a visiting governor a list of 234 missing, and the principal told the AP that 230 were missing and 43 accounted for.

On Wednesday, when marches were held to ask for action in finding the girls, the AP said the school's principal estimated that 220 students were still missing.

The reason the number of missing keeps increasing is that students from other schools had traveled to Chibok to take an exam there, Police Commissioner Tanko Lawan said, according to AP. He said many schools in the area have been shut down because of attacks from Islamic extremists.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan referred to the kidnapped students for the first time Thursday, according to news reports.

According to, he said:

The recent atrocities by terrorists, particularly the Nyanya Motor park bombing of mainly working class citizens, as well as the cruel abduction of some innocent girls, our future mothers and leaders in a very horrific and despicable situation in Borno State, is quite regrettable.

The government is constantly reviewing and upgrading mechanisms to curb this mindless act and together, with the cooperation of the citizenry, we shall triumph.

The extremist group Boko Haram has been blamed for the disappearance of the students, ages 15 to 18, though the group hasn't taken responsibility for it. Its name means "Western education is sinful."

Boko Haram did take responsibility for a massive explosion April 14 that killed at least 75 people in the capital, Abuja. Another blast yesterday in the capital, near the same spot, killed at least 19 and injured 66, the AP reports.

Terri Rupar is The Post's national digital projects editor.

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