Chi­bok girl found with baby by army

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

One of more than 200 school­girls ab­ducted by ji­hadist group Boko Haram from their school in north­east Nige­ria’s Chi­bok in 2014 has been found by sol­diers, a Nige­rian army spokesman said on yes­ter­day, weeks af­ter the mil­i­tants re­leased 21 of the girls. Around 270 girls were kid­napped in April 2014 by the Is­lamist mil­i­tant group, which has killed 15,000 peo­ple and dis­placed more than two mil­lion dur­ing a seven-year in­sur­gency aimed at cre­at­ing an Is­lamic caliphate in the north-east.

Dozens es­caped in the ini­tial melee, but more than 200 re­mained miss­ing for more than two years. Sani Us­man said the girl, Maryam Ali Maiyanga, was dis­cov­ered by troops who were screen­ing es­capees from Boko Haram’s base in the Sam­bisa for­est yes­ter­day morn­ing in Pulka, Gwoza Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area, in Borno State. “She was dis­cov­ered to be car­ry­ing a 10-month-old son, named Ali. She has been taken to the unit’s med­i­cal fa­cil­ity for (a) proper med­i­cal check up,” said Us­man.

Last month, 21 of the girls were re­leased by Boko Haram fol­low­ing talks with the gov­ern­ment bro­kered by the In­ter­na­tional Red Cross and the Swiss gov­ern­ment. The gov­ern­ment has vowed to res­cue the girls still be­ing held. The first of the school­girls to be found was dis­cov­ered by sol­diers on the edge of the Sam­bisa for­est, a for­mer colo­nial game re­serve in Borno state about 100 km (60 miles) from the vil­lage of Chi­bok, in May.

Nige­ria’s mil­i­tary has been car­ry­ing out a large-scale of­fen­sive in the vast wood­land area and other parts of Borno state, the epi­cen­ter of the in­sur­gency, in the last few weeks. Us­man said troops killed 14 sus­pected Boko Haram mil­i­tants on Fri­day dur­ing a clash at Mal­lam Fa­tori, north­ern Borno State. “We lost an of­fi­cer and four sol­diers, while four other sol­diers sus­tained var­i­ous de­grees of in­juries dur­ing the en­counter,” he said.

Boko Haram has kid­napped hun­dreds of men, women and chil­dren but the kid­nap­ping of the Chi­bok girls brought world­wide at­ten­tion to the group and wide­spread con­dem­na­tion. The group, which last year pledged loy­alty to the mil­i­tant group Is­lamic State, con­trolled a swathe of land around the size of Bel­gium in early 2015. Nige­ria’s army, aided by troops from neigh­bor­ing coun­tries, has since re­cap­tured most of the ter­ri­tory, al­though the ji­hadist group still stages sui­cide bomb­ings in the north­east, as well as in neigh­bor­ing Niger and Cameroon. — Reuters

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