Military rescues 293 girls, women from Sambisa Forest

The Director, Defence Information, Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade, has confirmed that the troops of the Nigerian Army rescued 200 girls and 93 women during a raid on Sambisa Forest on Tuesday.

When the news of the rescue was broken on the tweeter handle of the military on Tuesday, many Nigerians had gone online to speculate that the freed ladies included the Chibok schoolgirls.

However, Olukolade did not confirm whether or not the Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram on April 14, 2014 were among the rescued ladies.

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The Defence spokesman told our correspondent on the telephone that the tweets were the true position of the army on its operations in Sambisa Forest.

The tweets read, “Troops this (Tuesday) afternoon rescued 200 girls and 93 women from Sambisa. We cannot confirm if the Chibok girls are in the group.

“The troops captured and destroyed three terrorist camps, including the notorious Tokumbere Camp in the Sambisa Forest operation.

“Sambisa Forest: The freed persons are now being screened and profiled. We will bring you details later.”

The Defence authorities had stated that the soldiers rescued the girls and the women during an invasion of the Boko Haram stronghold.

It was further stated that the freed girls and women were being screened and profiled to ascertain their identities.

The kidnap of over 200 pupils of the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State has been generating worldwide condemnation.

The girls, majority of who were sitting for the 2014 West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations, were abducted from their hostels after Boko Haram fighters attacked their school.

On October 17, 2014, hopes were raised that the girls might soon be released after the Army announced a truce between Boko Haram and government forces.

The announcement coincided with the six-month anniversary of the girls’ capture and followed a month of negotiations.

The announcement was met with doubt as this was not the first time the Federal Government had claimed a breakthrough in the negotiations with the Islamic militant group.

It had to backtrack on a previous announcement in September after saying the girls had been released and were being held in military barracks.

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