“The operation is going on and we will continue to deploy more troops,” Nigerian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Chris Olukolade said on Tuesday.
According to the students’ parents, 234 were still missing after the mass abduction of teenage schoolgirls from Chibok school in Borno state last week.
“I have not seen my dear daughter, she is a good girl,” cried a man, whose 17-year-old daughter was taken away, adding, “We plead with the government to help rescue her and her friends; we pray nothing happens to her.”
There has been no claim of responsibility for the abduction, but officials and residents blamed the Boko Haram militant group for the assault.
Reports say some of the abducted students have managed to flee their captors.
Boko Haram — whose name means “Western education is forbidden” — says its goal is to overthrow the Nigerian government.
The group has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly gun and bomb attacks in various parts of Nigeria since 2009.
Over the past four years, violence in the north of Africa’s most populous country has claimed the lives of 3,600 people, including killings by the security forces.