One of the schoolgirls abducted by Islamist rebels in the north-eastern Nigerian village of Chibok was freed this week, police and a parent of some of the other missing girls said today.
Boko Haram militants took more than 200 girls from a secondary school in the village near the Cameroon border in April, sparking a worldwide outcry. They have remained in captivity since then. Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, has been pilloried for his slow response to the kidnapping and for his inability to quell the violence by the Islamist militants.
The Islamists offered to release the girls in a prisoner swap in May, but the proposal was rejected by the government.
A military operation in the north-east has so far failed to quell the rebellion and has triggered reprisal attacks that are increasingly targeting civilians, after some of them formed vigilante groups to try to help the government flush out the militants.
Boko Haram has seized several towns in the last two months, although the military said on Wednesday it had pushed the group back and that 135 fighters had surrendered this week in the north-east town of Biu, near the centre of Boko Haram’s campaign to carve out an Islamist state.
The military said Boko Haram had also been trying to take over the town of Konduga, near the Cameroon border, two weeks ago but had been repelled by air and land forces.
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