A military source told Nigerian news publication The Cable that the rescue followed a series of military operations in the Sambisa Forest where hundreds of captives are being freed.
“For a month now, troops have been bombarding the Sambisa forest and Boko Haram hideouts, and many civilians are being rescued,” a military source said. “When the enemies are neutralized, those they have captured regain freedom.” Among those freed is a Chibok girl, Hauwa Halima Maigana, rescued after her captors’ hideout was cleared.
Maigana may not be the only Chibok girl among those rescued. “There are many other girls, we are still trying to find out where they were stolen from,” the source toldeThe Cable. Sahara Reporters echoed that report, quoting an unnamed source privy to information who said the group is not only Chibok girls: “They are made up of a variety of women abducted by Boko Haram terrorists.”
Secretary of the Chibok Parents Association, Lawal Zannah, said he also had information that some of the girls had escaped but had not yet ascertained the number. “We heard that some of our girls have escaped from the forest, but we are yet to get the details about their number,” he said.
‘Is this my daddy?’
According to CNN, Maigana called her father to say she and others had managed to flee Boko Haram militants Thursday. Her father, told CNN, “She asked me. Is this my daddy? Is this my daddy,’ and she started crying. The crying was [so] much and I couldn’t hear her very well. I was crying too. I never expected to hear from her again.”
Hauwa, apparently a Muslim, was kidnapped along with her step-sister who was rescued by troops with a baby from a Boko Haram commander in 2016.
Some 276 girls were abducted and until today at least 112 have been missing for almost seven years after Boko Haram militants stormed the school and kidnapped 276 girls—creating a firestorm that gained widespread global attention and sparked an international campaign advocating for their release with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. Dozens of girls escaped almost immediately after the mass abduction. Another girl was found in May 2016 when she wandered out of a Nigerian forest asking for help. Later in 2016 after negotiations, Boko Haram released 21 girls to the Nigerian government. Then 82 more girls were freed in a prisoner swap between the terrorist group and the government in the capital city of Abuja in 2017.
Since then, nothing had been heard of the 112 young women.
To date, the Boko Haram insurgency in northeastern Nigeria and border countries, Niger, Cameroon and Chad has claimed the lives of thousands and has led to more than 250,000 kidnappings.