Nigerian officials say the number of girls who are known to have escaped from a brazen kidnapping at their secondary school has risen to 44.

Officials said Saturday that 85 girls are still missing, after unidentified gunmen launched an attack in the northeastern town of Chibok on Monday, and abducted the students.

On Friday, school principal Asabe Kwanbura said some of the girls had escaped by jumping from their captor's vehicles while others managed to escape from a camp where they were being held.

The Nigerian military has launched search efforts for the students. Authorities also say vigilante groups and hunters are looking for the girls in the surrounding forest, where insurgents are believed to be hiding.

A woman whose niece is among the missing students, told VOA she was very saddened by the uncertainty over the girls' fate.

There have been no claims of responsibility for the attack, but the assault is similar to attacks by the Boko Haram Islamist militant group.

On Saturday, the French News Agency said Boko Haram had claimed responsibility for a Monday bombing in Abuja that left 75 people dead.