More than 60 women and girls abducted by the Boko Haram Islamist militant group in Nigeria have managed to escape, according to reports.
An official with a Borno state vigilante group said the group took a chance to flee when the insurgents went to attack soldiers and police officers in Bamboa on Friday night and Saturday morning.
“I have just received an alert from my colleagues in Damboa area that about 63 of the abducted women and girls had made it back home. They took the bold step when their abductors moved out to carry out an operation”, the official, Abbas Gava, said according to Nigeria’s Premium Times.
“We don’t have the details of their escape yet, but we believe God gave them the opportunity at the time the insurgents came in their large numbers to attack Damboa where about 12 soldiers, five policemen, over 50 Boko Haram members and unspecified number of civilians were killed yesterday (Saturday).”
He added that it was thought five women and two girls were still being held by the group.
A security officer told the Nigerian Bulletin that there was “no doubt” about the report.
“I guess it was during the time the gunmen were attacking Damboa; left behind just some few men to watch over the women, but the women took advantage of an opportunity when the guys were dozing off, and bolted away but quietly,” he said.
Kidnap and ransom is a major source of income for Boko Haram. In April, there was global outrage when a group of nearly 300 schoolgirls were taken from Chibok, also in Borno state. About 220 of those girls are still being held.
That sparked the international Bring Back Our Girls campaign with a number of prominent people, including US First Lady, Michelle Obama, joining in.
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