Schoolgirls accompanied by school staff were able to escape an attack by Boko Haram militants in the North Eastern town of Dapchi in Nigeria on Monday, witnesses say.
The students were alerted to the arrival of militants after they opened fire and set off explosives outside the school. The school building was ransacked by the militiamen after they discovered that the students had escaped. The Nigerian security forces responded by conducting a security operation forcing the militants to retreat.
Local residents allege that Boko Haram militants had planned to kidnap the schoolgirls. In April 2014, the group kidnapped more than 270 girls, 100 of whom were released in a prisoner exchange last September.
Boko Haram has been an active insurgent group in North Eastern Nigeria for the past eight years, campaigning for the establishment of an Islamic state. Tens of thousands have died in years of fighting between the group and government forces.