Troops rescue 293 girls, women from Sambisa forest
NIGERIAN troops fighting Boko Haram insurgents in the Northeast have rescued no fewer than 200 girls and 93 women from Sambisa forest in Borno State.
Defence Headquarters, in a tweet yesterday, described the operation as ‘daring and precise,’ even as its men and officers continue to screen the women and girls to ascertain their origins.
“In a daring and precise operation, the Nigerian troops have stormed the Sambisa forest and rescued about 300 women and girls,” the tweet said.
The military also disclosed that three major terrorists camps were destroyed in the “well-coordinated attacks that include the destruction of the notorious Tokumbere camp in the Sambisa Forest.”
Director, Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade, confirmed the operation, but did not state categorically whether, or not, the girls were from Chibok community in Borno State.
Since April last year, there have been intense campaigns in the traditional and social media for the rescue of the more than 200 girls, who were kidnapped by the Boko Haram members.
But Olukayode could not confirm the identity of the freed victims and their origins. According to him, their identities will be made public after thorough screening and proper investigations.
He said: “I can only confirm the rescue 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.” Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col Sani Usman, in an electronic mail to The Guardian last night, described the feat as heart-warming.
“It is heartwarming to inform you that, today, troops continued the offensive and cleared four key terrorists camps in Sambisa forest, Borno State.
So far, they have destroyed and cleared Sassa, Tokumbere and two other camps in the general area of Alafa, all within the Sambisa forest. “The troops have also rescued 200 abducted girls (not Chibok girls) and 93 women. They are, at present, being processed. Similarly, a number of equipment and weapons have been captured.”