Rescue operations carried out by Nigeria’s Armed Forces on Tuesday, saving 200 girls and 93 women from the clutches of Boko Haram militants, did not include the schoolgirls kidnapped from Chibok, according to an army spokesperson.
The Nigerian Armed Forces tweeted:
— DEFENCE HQ NIGERIA (@DefenceInfoNG) April 28, 2015
Col. Sani Usman, an Army spokesperson, said that the 293 women rescued in Tuesday’s Army operations “are not the Chibok girls,” as reported by USA Today.
Boko Haram militants kidnapped 300 schoolgirls from the village of Chibok on April 2014. Although several were able to escape, 219 girls were accounted to be missing.
The incident elicited nationwide protest, creating the social movement “Bring Back Our Girls.”
According to CNN, Military spokesman Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade said that those rescued are being examined.
The Nigerian government issued a ceasefire with Boko Haram in October, asking the extremist group to release the girls. However, the militant faction announced two weeks later that the girls had been converted to Islam and married off.
“Now they are excited about their freedom,” Usman said, according to Reuters Africa. “Tomorrow there will be screenings to determine whether they are Boko Haram wives, whether they are from Chibok, how long they have been in the camps, and if they have children.”
The Nigerian Army has been making efforts to gain entrance into the Sambisa Forest in recent weeks. Although they had to step back last Wednesday as explosives had been planted in the forest, they entered and raided the camps established and run by the terrorist group in the forest on Tuesday afternoon, rescuing several women and girls.
“We stumbled on the girls and may find more,” Usman said.
A local government committee said that they buried scores of skeletons of men, women and children who were believed to have been killed by Boko Haram in Damasak.
“I know that there was a large-scale atrocity, but I cannot tell you the precise number of dead bodies,” Senator-elect Abubakar Kyari told reporters in Maiduguri.
Boko Haram’s attacks have driven thousands of children away from education. Their name translates to “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language.
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