Reports from Nigeria say that nearly 160 women and children who were abducted by Boko Haram extremists have been rescued. This news came one day after reports that around 200 children and 93 abducted women were also freed from the terrorist organization. While the news of abducted women being freed from Boko Haram is good, the rescue efforts went differently than expected when some of the captives opened fire on the ones trying to save them.
According to USA Today, the spokesman for the Nirgerian army, Sani Usman, released a statement announcing that several fatalities had occurred during the rescue. Casualties included one abducted women and a soldier, both shot and killed in shootouts in the nine Boko Haram camps in the Sambisa Forest. Some of the abducted women freed by rescuers shot at the soldiers trying to extract them from the terrorist camps.
Eight more of the abducted women were injured in the struggle and four soldiers were also wounded.
Usman reported today (Thursday) that “60 women of various ages and around 100 children” were evacuated from Boko Haram. According to Al Jazeera, the military is planning to release more information and photographs of the abducted women and children being freed later today.
Though hundreds of civilians have been freed, there are still many more in captivity. The exact numbers of abducted women and children are impossible to know, but authorities believe the total number is near 2,000. The captives are being held as sex slaves and forced fighters.
It’s unclear why the abducted women and children fired on their rescuers, but it could be due to the psychological trauma they endured as a result of Boko Haram’s abduction, making it difficult for them to know who to trust.
“Many of those kidnapped have undergone psychological trauma and indoctrination,” said Usman. “Some of them are psychologically disturbed and giving contrary information due to trauma, so we can’t say where they’re from yet.”
However, some of the victims have either escaped or have been freed in the midst of Boko Haram’s defense against multi-national, anti-terrorist attacks that have occurred since the beginning of the year.
According to Amnesty International, the rescue of the 160 abducted women and children is a cause for celebration, but there is still a lot of work to do.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s director for research and advocacy in Africa. “There are thousands more women and girls, and men and boys, who have been abducted by Boko Haram.”
[Image credit: Getty]