The Nigerian army has rescued 200 girls and 93 women who had been captured by terror group Boko Haram.
It came during a military operation to wrest back the Sambisa Forest from the Boko Haram Islamist militant group, it said on its Twitter feed but were unable to confirm if these were the girls who were kidnapped from the village of Chibok, a year ago.
The army posted: ‘Troops this afternoon rescued 200 girls and 93 women from Sambisa Forest.
A group of Nigerian girls who were captured by Boko Haram from the village of Chibok in 2014. It has not been confirmed if those rescued today were the girls from Chibok
The Nigerian army tweeted that they had rescued 200 girls and 93 women from the Sambisa Forest this afternoon
‘We cannot confirm if the Chibok girls are in this group,’ it said, adding that Nigerian troops had also destroyed three camps run by the militants.
Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls near the northern village of Chibok in April 2014, sparking international outcry.
They were taken away in trucks on the night of April 14 to 15, after the terrorists from Boko Haram – meaning ‘Western education is sinful’ – broke into their school by pretending to be guards.
The students were forced to convert to Islam and marry group members.
The attack sparked worldwide condemnation and a huge campaign called ‘#bringbackourgirls’ – but more than 200 are still missing after others were freed or killed.
The kidnapping of the Chibok girls sparked international condemnation with Michelle Obama taking part in a campaign called ‘Bring Back Our Girls’
Amnesty International said in a report on Tuesday that Boko Haram has kidnapped at least 2,000 Nigerian women and girls since the start of 2014, many of whom were sexually abused or trained to fight.
The document, which includes scores of victim testimonies, accuses Boko Haram of rape, forced marriages and coercing them into armed attacks, sometimes on their own villages.
One 19-year-old, who asked not to be named, told Amnesty she had been repeatedly raped by gangs of up to six men.
‘I was among the girls trained to shoot. I was also trained how to use bombs and how to attack a village’, she said.
With help from state neighbours Niger, Cameroon and especially Chad, the rebel Boko Haram force in Nigeria have been forced to retreat from an area the size of Belgium in the last few weeks.