3 May 2015

Nigeria: 275 women and children ‘rescued’ from Boko Haram

A group of nearly 300 Nigerian girls and women are “rescued” from Boko Haram extremists by the military were brought to a refugee camp in the country’s northeast.

A convoy of armed vehicles brought 275 women and young children to a school that has been turned into a refugee camp for people displaced by Boko Haram.

Read more: Nigeria - 300 girls and women 'rescued from Boko Haram camp'

They came from Sambisa Forest, the last stronghold of the Islamic extremists, where the Nigerian military said it had rescued more than 677 girls and women and destroyed more than a dozen insurgent camps in the past week.

Two newborns were among the first arrivals.

The military handed over the women and children to the National Emergency Management Agency (Nema).

In a statement, the director of search and rescue for Nema, Charles Otegbade said: “We are still in the process of sorting them out, but we can tell you that the majority of them are children, they are all women and children, but the majority are children.”

We can tell you that the majority of them are children. Nema

It was not immediately clear if any of more than 200 girls abducted from a school in Chibok in April 2014 were among those freed.

Thousands have been killed in northern Nigeria since Boko Haram began its insurgency in 2009 to create an Islamic state.

In February, Nigeria’s military, backed by troops from neighbouring countries, launched a major offensive against the Islamist fighters.

It has recaptured much of the territory Boko Haram had taken in the previous year.