The theft of 110 girls from their school in Dapchi Yobe State by suspected Boko Haram militants has left security operatives divided.

While the girls may still be in the bush with their captors, the Nigerian Army and Police continue to trade blame over the incident.

On Monday, the two agencies publicly disagreed over the security arrangements that were in place in Dapchi before the girls were stolen by suspected Boko Haram militants.

While the Army said it handed over the security of Dapchi to the police, the police vehemently denied this, saying such statement is misleading.

The army issued a statement in which it said soldiers were withdrawn from Dapchi, before the girls were seized from their school in the town by armed insurgents on February 19.

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“Troops earlier deployed in Dapchi were redeployed to reinforce troops at Kanama, following attacks on troops,” army spokesman Onyema Nwachukwu said in an emailed statement.

Kanama is a town near the border with Niger which lies about 120km (75 miles) from Dapchi.

“This was on the premise that Dapchi has been relatively calm and peaceful and the security of Dapchi town was formally handed over to the Nigeria police division located in the town,” he said.

No details were given of when the redeployment took place.

However, Sumonu Abdulmaliki, Yobe state police commissioner, later issued a statement saying the claim of a handover was “untrue, unfounded and misleading”.

“There was no time that the military informed the police of their withdrawal, consulted or handed over their locations in Dapchi town to the police,” he said.

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