19 May 2016

Kidnapped Chibok schoolgirl found after two years

7:45 am on 19 May 2016

One of the 219 missing Chibok schoolgirls has been found in Nigeria - the first to be rescued since their capture two years ago.

A screengrab taken from a Boko Haram video showing girls believed to be the schoolgirls abducted in Chibok.

A screengrab taken from a Boko Haram video showing girls believed to be the schoolgirls abducted in Chibok. Photo: AFP

Activists said that Amina Ali Nkeki was found by a vigilante group on Tuesday in the huge Sambisa Forest, close to the border with Cameroon.

In all, 218 girls remain missing after their abduction from a secondary school in north-east Nigeria in April 2014.

The girls were taken by militants from the Boko Haram Islamist group.

Amina was reportedly recognised by a civilian fighter. The fighter belonged to the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF), a vigilante group set up to help fight Boko Haram.

Aboku Gaji, leader of the vigilante group in Chibok, said: "The moment this girl was discovered by our vigilantes, she was brought to my house.

"I instantly recognised her, and insisted we should take her to her parents.

"On seeing her, the mother and other relatives rushed to hug her and started shedding tears. Afterwards, we had to make them understand that the girl would not be left in their care. She must be handed over to the authority. "

Hosea Abana Tsambido, the chairman of the Chibok community in the capital, Abuja, told the BBC that Amina had been found after venturing into the forest to search for firewood.

"She was saying… all the Chibok girls are still there in the Sambisa except six of them that have already died."

Sources told the BBC that she was from the town of Mbalala, south of Chibok, from where 25 of the kidnapped girls came. A neighbour in Mbalala said Amina was found with a baby.

An uncle, Yakubu Nkeki, told Associated Press news agency that Amina was 17 when abducted.

Amina is expected to be moved to Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria's Borno state.

In recent days, Nigerian media reported that the army had launched operations against Boko Haram in the Sambisa Forest.

A Nigerian army spokesman, Colonel Sani Usman Kuka Sheka, issued a statement saying a Chibok schoolgirl was among a group of people rescued by Nigerian troops.

During the 2014 attack, gunmen arrived in Chibok late at night, raided the school dormitories and loaded 276 girls on to trucks.

Some managed to escape within hours of their kidnapping, mostly by jumping off the lorries and running off into the bushes.

In total, 219 girls remained missing before this latest news.

A video broadcast by CNN in April this year appeared to show some of the kidnapped schoolgirls alive.

Fifteen girls in black robes were pictured. They said they were being treated well but wanted to be with their families.

The video was allegedly shot on Christmas Day 2015 and some of the girls were identified by their parents.

The Chibok schoolgirls, many of whom are Christian, had previously not been seen since May 2014, when Boko Haram released a video of about 130 of them gathered together reciting the Koran.

The abduction led to the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, that was supported by US First Lady Michelle Obama and Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai.

- BBC

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