Nigerian soldiers interrogating captured Boko Haram suspects have found one of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by the insurgents about three years ago, along with her baby, the country’s military said on Thursday.
About 300 girls writing science exams were kidnapped by Boko Haram from a government boarding school in the remote northeastern town of Chibok in April 2014, a mass abduction that shocked the world and brought Boko Haram international attention. Most of the girls remain in captivity.
Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language, and the group’s fighters have attacked many schools and killed hundreds of students.
In May last year, one Chibok girl escaped. In October last year, the government negotiated the release of 21 more. Another girl was freed in November last year in an army raid on an extremist camp in the Sambisa Forest.
Nigerian Army spokesman Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman identified the latest girl to be freed as Rakiya Abubakar and said she has a six-month-old baby.
He said her identity was discovered when soldiers were interrogating some of more than 1,000 suspects detained in recent weeks of army raids on the Sambisa Forest.
The military released a photograph showing Abubakar with mournful eyes, her head covered by a white scarf and clutching the baby wearing a white beanie cap.
Borno Governor Kashim Shettima welcomed her at his official residence, where she was identified by two freed Chibok colleagues.
Baby Abdullahi is shown in a video breaking into a big smile when he’s chucked under the chin by one of the girls. Abubakar remains serious and morose.
“Hope springs eternal from the hearts of men,” Shettima said. “We hope and pray that in the coming days and weeks we will get back a substantial number of our daughters” from Chibok.
A statement from Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said Abubakar’s recovery “raises renewed hope that the other captured girls will one day be reunited with their families, friends and community.”
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