© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Nigerian Soldiers Rescue 300 Women From Sambisa Forest
The Nigerian military has said that its troops have rescued about 300 women and girls from the notorious Sambisa Forest after carrying out an operation there.
Sambisa Forest is believed to be the largest stronghold of the Boko Haram insurgency group which has terrorised parts of Northern Nigeria for the past six years.
The defence spokesman, Chris Olukolade, a Major General, who confirmed the military operation and the rescue report, said that those rescued included 200 girls and 93 women.
He could, however, not confirm the identity of the rescued girls although there are already speculations in the media that they might be the same ones kidnapped by insurgents from Chibok in April, 2014.
“I can only confirm the rescued this afternoon of 200 girls and 93 women in different camps in the forest. We are yet to determine their origin as all the freed persons are now being screened and profiled. Please don’t misquote me on their origin. We will provide more details later.”
The raid on Sambisa Forest had been planned for a while as it remained the major stronghold of the Boko Haram fighter to have survived renewed military campaign against terrorists in the North east.
Initial efforts to liberate the area by Nigerian troops were resisted by the insurgents but the military has apparently won the battle for Sambisa Forest after what it described as a “daring and precise operation”.
The Chibok girls were believed to have been first held in Sambisa Forest immediately after their abduction but the military did not make any move to invade the area at that time.
Since they were kidnapped, the location where the girls were being held has not been known although many people have reported sighting them in different placed, including across the border in Niger Republic.
Only in March, a woman who had just been released from captivity by Boko Haram insurgents had told the icirnigeria.org that she was held in the same location as the abducted Chibok girls in Gwoza, Borno State.
The 56 year old woman, Mbutu Papka, who was kidnapped from her village in Borno State in July 2014, had said that the girls were being held in a heavily guarded compound in Gwoza.
Gwoza was liberated from the insurgents a week after the report, Chibok Girls Are In Gwoza, Says Freed Boko Haram Abductee, was published but the abducted girls were not found there.