More than 100 girls are reported missing after a Boko Haram school attack in northeast Nigeria this week that President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday called a "national disaster".
But locals in the remote town of Dapchi, in Yobe state, said they had been left vulnerable to attack because soldiers had been withdrawn in the last few weeks.
Nigeria's government has been scrambling to contain a growing crisis that has revived memories of the 2014 mass abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls from Chibok that shocked the world.
The attack has also raised questions about the military's repeated claims that the Islamist militants are on the verge of defeat, after nearly nine years of bitter fighting.
Terrified pupils fled the boarding school on Monday night when heavily armed fighters in military fatigues and turbans stormed the town, shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("God is greatest").
The authorities initially denied that any student had been kidnapped but fears have grown all week that they may have been seized, as dozens of girls failed to return home.
Bashir Manzo, whose 16-year-old daughter, Fatima, is among the missing, said parents had set up their own support group to push for answers -- and secure the release of their children.