In two different operations in under a week, Nigerian troops have rescued more than 400 women and children who had been kidnapped by Boko Haram.
On Tuesday, Nigerian troops announced they rescued 200 girls and 93 women from Boko Haram – and today news has come out that troops rescued another 160 women and children.
While the news is promising and shows progress made in Nigeria to combat Boko Haram, the girls rescued were not the Chibok girls who inspired the #BringBackOurGirls movement last year. It is possible that a few of the kidnapped Chibok girls were part of the mix of those rescued, but that information has not yet been made clear.
Army spokesperson Sani Usman said they were working to verify actual numbers, but that they expect even more people will be rescued soon. He says the 160 figure for the most recent rescue is an estimate “because more are coming in as operations continue.”
The terrorist group Boko Haram has wreaked havoc on northern Nigeria since 2009. Boko Haram has continually attacked northern Nigeria since 2009; they have targeted officials, civilians, women, children, and have kidnapped many. In a recent attack, hundreds of gunmen attacked the town of Baga, leaving up to 2,000 people dead. The majority of those killed were women, children, and the elderly who could not flee quickly enough.
More than a year ago, over 270 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria. Activists took to social media to demand the release or rescue of the girls, using the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. Several false promises and announcements were made to rescue the girls, but it is only now that progress seems to be happening in the effort to rescue those kidnapped.
“This development is just cause for celebration and undoubtedly an immense relief to the women, girls and their families. But this is just the tip of the iceberg; there are thousands more women and girls, and men and boys who have been abducted by Boko Haram,” said Netsanet Belay, Africa director at Amnesty International.
Media Resources: CNN 4/30/2015; Feminist Newswire 1/12/2015, 5/5/2015