Nigerian President calls missing schoolgirls a ‘national disaster’

(CNN) — Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has promised the families of girls missing after an attack on their school in the country’s northeast that they’ll be found and their attackers brought to justice.

Buhari called the situation a “national disaster” and said more troops and surveillance aircraft had been deployed to search the entire territory for the unknown number of missing students.

“We are sorry that it happened; we share your pain. Let me assure that our gallant armed forces will locate and safely return all the missing girls,” Buhari said in a Twitter statement.

The girls have been missing since suspected Boko Haram militants raided the Government Girls Science Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe, Monday night.

The local Yobe government released a statement Wednesday announcing the girls had been found, but later apologized for the “erroneous” statement that it said was based on inaccurate information.

It is unclear how many girls are missing from Monday’s attack and where they may be. Government agencies have given contradictory information on the situation.

Earlier, the governor’s aide released a statement saying 50 students were still unaccounted for after armed militants approached the school under the cover of darkness Monday night. The statement also said it was unclear whether the students were abducted by the militants.

“The Yobe state government has no credible information yet as to whether any of the schoolgirls was taken hostage by the terrorists,” said Abdullahi Bego, an aide to Gov. Ibrahim Gaidam, in a statement.

Witnesses told CNN that terrified residents of the town fled on Monday when they saw trucks and motorcycles carrying armed men shooting at people randomly.

Freed Chibok girls reunite with families

Boko Haram kidnapped nearly 300 girls from a school in Chibok in April 2014, setting off global outrage. Many of the Chibok girls were freed after negotiations, but more than 100 remain in captivity, their whereabouts unknown.