Nigerian kidnapped schoolgirls: Escaped hostages describe their ordeal

Girls say they jumped from moving lorries in order to escape

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The Independent Online

Schoolgirls who managed to escape from the clutches of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram have described their ordeal as the search for others still being held hostage by the group continues.

One said she was shot at when she ran off after being sent to fetch water. Two others girls jumped from a moving lorry as it slowed and hid in bushes overnight in order to escape their kidnappers.

"They took us away in a convoy of lorries," one of them told Sky News reporters.

"We travelled through the night before reaching the final destination in the forest.

"The following day we were sent to fetch water. That was when we seized the opportunity and bolted.

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They arrived back in Chibok, the site of the school where over 200 girls were taken, two days later. Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the group, has threatened to sell the girls into slavery.

Nigeria's Army has now posted two divisions to locate the girls. The soldiers are stationed in the border region close to Chad, Cameroon and Niger to work with other security agencies, said General Chris Olukolade, spokesman for the Defence Headquarters.

The government of President Goodluck Jonathan has faced criticism for its slow response since Boko Haram militants stormed the school on April 14. Fifty have escaped but more than 200 remain with the insurgents.

Earlier, Michelle Obama condemned the kidnap as an "unconscionable act" carried out by a terrorist group determined to keep them from getting an education - "or grown men attempting to snuff out the aspirations of young girls".

The US First Lady delivered the President's weekly address, where she took the opportunity to call for their immediate release.

Ms Obama said she and her husband were "outraged and heartbroken over the mass abduction". "In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters," Ms Obama said, referring to Malia, 15, and Sasha, 12.

 "We see their hopes, their dreams and we can only imagine the anguish their parents are feeling right now."

Intelligence sources involved in the hunt for the girls believe Boko Haram may have split them into four groups, making the search and potential rescue even more dangerous.