The 200 Chibok girls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants last year may be held inside bunkers in the terror group's stronghold in Sambisa Forest in Nigeria, Borno State governor has said.
Though hundreds of women and children have been freed by security forces from Boko Haram, the fate of the young Chibok girls, who were kidnapped from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok last April, remains unknown.
"We are suspecting that Chibok girls are living with the insurgents in bunkers, I think the military must carry out their operations beyond the surface earth," Kassim Shettima said on Tuesday, according to Nigeria's Daily Post.
"They (Boko Haram) were also known to have dug tunnels to enable them move from house to house. So, having been left unchallenged for such a long time, such possibility cannot be ruled out, which poses serious obstacles within the forest," he added.
It is feared that most of the young girls may have been married off to Boko Haram fighters after converting them to Islam.
A video purportedly by Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau last year claimed that the schoolgirls had been married.
The governor also claimed that the death toll from Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria is much higher than reported.
"This year alone, more than 70,000 people were killed before Boko Haram was knocked out. So far, more than 300,000 people have been killed. I lost 29 of my siblings. I buried them myself," Shettima said.