After two years with no progress, one of the 276 Chibok schoolgirls who were kidnapped by Boko Harem were rescued earlier this week, and now, a mere two days later the Nigerian army is reporting that they have now rescued a second Chibok girl from the violent group.
The announcement that the Nigerian government officials had brought another girl home came on Thursday, just hours after the president of Nigeria had met with the schoolgirl who was rescued this week. The girl who was rescued has been identified as Serah Luka, and the operation on Thursday is said to have resulted in the death of 35 Boko Haram fighters and came with the additional rescue of 97 women and children, according to the Nigerian military.
UPDATE: How second Chibok schoolgirl, Serah Luka, was rescued -- Nigerian Armyhttps://t.co/zhjEwuTqpz— Premium Times (@PremiumTimesng) May 19, 2016
The Nation has reported that Col. Kukasheka advised that, on the list of the still missing Chibok girls in captivity, Sarah Luka was number 157. At the time of her abduction, she had been a Junior Secondary School 1 pupil. Kukasheka also released a statement explaining that most of the information garnered had come from the debriefing of Luka.
“She added that there were three other girls who fled from Shettima Aboh when the troops invaded the area earlier today which led to their rescue. She is presently receiving medical attention at the medical facility of Abogo Largema Cantonment, Biu, Borno State.”
Serah Luka had only been at the boarding school in the Chibok village or about two months before the fighters from Boko Harem raided and kidnapped the girls when they were in the midst of their exams. The young girl rescued on Tuesday, after being found wandering in a forest, Amina Ali, met with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja. The 19-year-old girl arrived in the capital city by way of the presidential jet to the presidential villa where she also met with several of the country’s dignitaries.
Ali carried along her four-month-old baby girl, Safiya, and the president showed off both mother and child to a crowd of journalists. The president also spoke of making Amina’s return to school a priority of the government. Amina Ali’s mother and brother were also brought with her to the compound.
The mass kidnapping of the girls’ occurred back in April 2014 and sparked international outrage, inspiring the viral campaign known as #BringBackOurGirls. The fight against Boko Haram actually gained more assistance through the tragedy as the United States and other nations increased the military assistance given to the Nigerian government in the battle against the Islamic fundamentalist militia.
According to the New York Times some of the 276 Chibok girls managed to escape during the early part of their capture, 57 girls in fact, but in all a total of 217 girls kidnapped remain missing from those taken by the Boko Haram Islamists during the abduction in north-eastern Nigeria in 2014. The failure to bring back the remaining girls has remained a constant source of ever-deepening grief and despair within the community.
The Defence Minister, Mansur Dan Ali was able to review the performance of the military’s campaign against the Boko Haram group during the rescue operation. Unfortunately, he reported that 69 of the military’s soldiers had been killed in action.
President Buhari acknowledged the tragedy of the situation, never to be forgotten despite the joyousness of the Chibok girl’s return. The failure to bring back the girls has been one of the biggest and most embarrassing failures of Buhari’s term.
“Like others all over the world, I’m delighted that Amina Ali, one of the missing Chibok girls, has regained her freedom. But my feelings are tinged with deep sadness on the horrors the girl has had to go through at such an early stage in her life. Although we cannot do anything to reverse the horrors of her past, the Federal Government can and will do everything possible to ensure that the rest of her life takes a completely different course.”
The government and military have promised to release further information at a later date.
[Photo Courtesy of Dan Kitwood/ Florian Plaucheur/ Getty Images]