Nigeria’s military announced Tuesday that it had rescued a group of 200 girls and 93 women from territory controlled by Boko Haram in the country’s northeast.
It did not confirm whether they included the girls from Chibok village who captured global attention in April 2014, of whom 219 are still missing. The Nigerian Armed Forces’ official Twitter account merely posted that “the freed persons are now being screened and profiled.” (RELATED: Boko Haram’s ISIS Pledge Brings Jihadi Power Struggle To Africa)
The women were rescued in the Sambisa Forest, an 23,000-square-mile territory that has been a Boko Haram refuge for years. The operation that liberated them also “captured and destroyed 3 terrorists [sic] camps,” according to Nigeria’s military.
Though the Chibok kidnapping was especially high-profile, it has been a small portion of the violence visited on Nigeria by Boko Haram. The group has also (RELATED: Boko Haram Carries Out Second-Bloodiest Terror Attack In Modern History)
Tuesday’s news also came among reports of a freshly discovered mass grave near the edge of Boko Haram’s domain, where hundreds of bodies were left to rot after the jihadi group rampaged through the town of Damasak. Boko Haram had kidnapped 400 women and children from Damasak last month.
The Islamists’ continuing stronghold on Nigeria’s northeastern corner is far removed from the majority of the country’s 173 million inhabitants. But its threat loomed over Nigeria’s recent election, in which incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan turned over power to Muhammadu Buhari, a former general who was the country’s head of state in the 1980s. Buhari campaigned in opposition to Jonathan’s underwhelming record in routing out Boko Haram.
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