Nigerian army says rescues more women and children from Boko Haram

Reuters , Thursday 30 Apr 2015

A woman is consoled while a Nigerian protest group continues their sit-in about the girls that are still missing from Chibok, in Abuja, Nigeria April 29, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

Nigeria's military rescued another set of women and children who had been kidnapped by Boko Haram militia and were being detained in Sambisa forest where the Islamist group has been holed up, an army spokesman said on Thursday.

Earlier this week, the army said it rescued nearly 300 women and girls from the same forest in the north eastern Borno state as it fights to quash the six-year Islamist insurgency.

"They have been evacuated to a safety zone for further processing," Colonel Sani Usman said in a statement without specifying the number of people saved from the group, which seeks to create a caliphate in western Africa.

The group, whose name means "Western education is sinful", has snatched at least 2,000 women and girls from their families since the start of 2014, according to Amnesty International.

Many of them have ended up as sex slaves or are used as human shields by the militants.

The uprising poses the greatest security threat to Africa's largest economy and leading oil producer, but it was only the mass kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls from a school in Chibok a year ago that focused the world's attention.

In the last two months, the Nigerian army has taken back control of swathes of territory in the remote north with the backing of troops from neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

Nigerians hope president-elect Muhammadu Buhari, a former army general, will stamp out the rebellion which his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, struggled to confront.

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