Nigerian military: second "Chibok girl" and 96 other hostages freed

Nigerian security forces have rescued 97 hostages, including a second "Chibok girl," and killed 35 members of the Boko Haram terror group that had been holding the hostages, a military spokesman said early Friday.

The operation to free the hostages, which included women and children, took place in the Sambisa Forest region in north-east Nigeria, Sani Usman said.

The Chibok Girl was one of 276 girls kidnapped more than two years ago by the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram from a school in the village of Chibok in the north-eastern state of Borno. More than 200 of the schoolgirls remain missing.

The first "Chibok girl" to be rescued was freed Monday. She and her year-old baby met Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in the capital Abuja Thursday.

Buhari was visibly delighted that Nkeki and her baby had been rescued, but expressed his sadness at the atrocities the young women had suffered.

"Although we cannot do anything to reverse the horrors of her past, federal government can and will do everything possible to ensure that the rest of her life takes a completely different course," the president said.

The 19-year-old, who is known by the names Amina Ali Nkeki and Falmata Mbalala, was airlifted Wednesday evening to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, according to Usman.

Buhari said Amina would receive the best care that the Nigerian government can afford.

"We will ensure that she gets the best medical, psychological, emotional and whatever other care she requires to make a full recovery and be reintegrated fully into society," he said.

Nkeki was accompanied to Maiduguri by a man alleged to be her husband, a Boko Haram fighter who surrendered and is currently being interrogated in Maiduguri, Usman said.

Most of the other abducted girls and young women are still being held in the north-eastern Sambisa forest, where Boko Haram is known to have secret camps, according to the young woman.

Only about 50 of the 276 girls - mostly aged 16 to 18 - abducted on April 14, 2014, managed to escape. Human rights organizations have said that Boko Haram uses women as sex slaves or in forced marriages to its fighters.

The terrorist group poses an ongoing threat to communities in north-eastern 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.

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: Fri, 20/05/2016 - 11:48

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