160 Women, Girls Rescued From Boko Haram, Nigerian Army Says
Within days of rescuing hundreds of women and children from the Sambisa Forest where they were being held captive by the Boko Haram, the Nigerian military rescued 160 more women and girls from the camps of the extremist group.
According to CNN, Sani Usman, army spokesman, said, “We are still working to verify the actual number of the rescued hostages, but I can say they include around 60 women and 100 children.”
Nine separate militant camps in the forest were targeted by the troops. A soldier and a woman, in addition to many others, lost their lives in the encounter. Among the injured were four soldiers and eight women who suffered gunshot wounds.
Usman added that upon evacuation, the rescued hostages were being transported to a safety zone for screening, according to The Guardian.
“Many of those kidnapped have undergone psychological trauma and indoctrination,” a spokesman said.
The most recent release comes after almost 300 people, including 200 girls and 93 women, were rescued from the Sambisa Forest. However, the group rescued did not include the schoolgirls that the group had kidnapped from the northeast town of Chibok on April 2014.
The kidnapping of the “Chibok girls” elicited public remonstration and global outcry. A social movement under the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls was started. Boko Haram, whose English translation is “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language has come under public attention since they seized over 270 girls from the Government Secondary School in Chibok.
The extremists had taken the girls to the forest. Dozens were able to escape. According to the website of Bring Back Our Girls, approximately 230 girls are still missing.
Boko Haram’s captives, which include girls, women and young men, are used as sex slaves and soldiers. With a multinational attack launched at the end of January that led to several firefighters fleeing, many hostages were able to escape.
Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, who lost the elections on March 28, said at a regional meeting of customs officials on Thursday that he will “hand over a Nigeria completely free of terrorist strongholds.”
His defeat came as a result of military failures and his casual approach towards the issue of Boko Haram kidnappings.
Jonathan will be succeeded by former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari, who will be sworn in on May 29.
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