MORE than 60 Nigerian girls and women abducted by Islamic extremists two weeks ago have managed to escape.

Nigerian security forces and federal government ­officials had denied reports of the mass abduction from three villages in the north-eastern state of Borno on June 22.

Chibok local government chairman Pogu Bitrus said he had verified that about 63 women and girls escaped on Thursday and Friday.

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He sent a representative to meet some of the escapees and their families at a hospital in Lassa, a town in the neighbouring Damboa local government area.

Small-scale kidnappings by Boko Haram extremists had been going on for months before they drew international condemnation for the abductions of more than 200 schoolgirls from a school in Chibok town of Borno state on April 15.

Some 219 of those girls still are missing. The failure of President Goodluck ­Jonathan's government and the country's military to rescue them attracted criticism at home and abroad.