Nigeria rescues 234 women and girls kidnapped by Boko Haram

The Nigerian army is battling against the group in its last stronghold

Ben Tufft
Saturday 02 May 2015 14:04
Comments
New Boko Haram propaganda named the group as Iswap - 'Islamic State's West Africa Province'
New Boko Haram propaganda named the group as Iswap - 'Islamic State's West Africa Province'

Nigerian soldiers have rescued 234 girls and women who had been captured by Boko Haram in a forest in the northeast of the country.

More than 677 women have now been rescued since the beginning of the week, suggesting the tide is turning in the war against the militant group.

The news was released by a tweet from the Nigerian Defence Headquarters, which said that the women and children were rescued from the Sambisa Forest on Thursday.

Military forces were deployed to the forest after weeks of air raids against militants in the area.

“The assault on the forest is continuing from various fronts and efforts are concentrated on rescuing hostages of civilians and destroying all terrorist camps and facilities in the forest,” army spokesman Major Gen Chris Olukoade said.

Sambisa Forest is the last holdout of Boko Haram and President Goodluck Jonathan promised to “hand over Nigeria completely free of terrorist strongholds” before he leaves office this month.

Some women shot at their rescuers and were killed in the fighting, as the terrorists attempted to use the women as human shields.

Despite efforts to suppress Boko Haram, the group continues to attack in isolated areas but government forces are having more success of late.

In a neighbouring province in Niger, the governor ordered residents to evacuate Lake Chad by Monday to allow soldiers to flush militants out from hideouts.

While an attack by soldiers on militants in Karamga island in Lake Chad last weekend killed 156 militants, 46 Niger military personnel and 28 civilians, according to the government.

Since the insurgency spread to neighbouring countries, a multinational force was assembled in January to deal with the militant group.

Towns and villages have now been retaken across the area Boko Haram declared an Islamic caliphate, as the Nigerian army has been equipped with new wepons and helicopter gunships.

It is currently unknown whether any of the rescued girls are those who were kidnapped from a boarding school in Chibok a year ago, which spawned the “Bring back our girls” campaign, supported by leaders across the world.

AP

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in