Most "Chibok girls" still held by Boko Haram, says rescued teenager

More than 200 young women abducted two years ago by Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram are still being held in Nigeria's north-eastern Sambisa forest, the first teenager to be rescued said, according to human rights activists.

The first "Chibok girl" was found together with her 1-year-old baby, said Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) campaign spokesperson Sesugh Akume in a statement. 

"Her name is number 127 on our list of 219 missing Chibok ... Her other classmates are still held under heavy terrorist captivity," Akume added.

The teenager was found on Tuesday in Baale Village near the town of Damboa, only a few kilometres from where she was kidnapped in 2014 and near the forest where Boko Haram is known to have secret camps, according to army spokesman Sani Usman.

The young woman was rescued by a vigilante group, who handed her over to the military, Allen Manasseh, a spokesman for the Chibok community, told dpa on Wednesday. Her parents as well as the vice principal of the school in Chibok, from which she was abducted, identified her, Manasseh added.

The teenager remained in military custody on Wednesday for further questioning, according to the Chibok spokesman.

There remained some confusion about the name of the rescued teenager on Wednesday. While the military said her name is Falmata Mbalala, the organizers of the BBOG campaign, founded shortly after the abductions, call her Amina Ali Nkeki.

The girl was rescued together with a small child and other women, the secretary of the Association of Parents of the Abducted Chibok Girls, Zanna Usman, told local broadcaster Channels TV. 

Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls and young women on April 14, 2014, from their school dormitory. Only about 50 of the abductees - mostly aged between 16 and 18 - managed to escape immediately. The rest are still believed to be in the power of Boko Haram, either as sex slaves or in forced marriages to its fighters.

Boko Haram poses a steady threat to communities in the north-east of Nigeria and has also launched offensives in neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroon. The group's goal is to enforce a strict interpretation of Islamic law, known as sharia. Since 2009, at least 14,000 people have died at the hands of the Sunni fundamentalists in Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger. According to the United Nations, an estimated 2.7 million people in the region have fled their homes due to Boko Haram.

Last update: Wed, 18/05/2016 - 19:23
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