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Military rescues Chibok girl, over 100 hostages


FRONT-PIX• Breastfeeding girl moved to Maiduguri for treatment
• ‘Terrorist husband’ arrested, 15 insurgents killed
Young Amina Ali, clutching her four-month-old baby, has regained her freedom from the terrorist group Boko Haram. Ali, one of the missing Chibok girls, was found on the edge of the Sambisa Forest in Borno State.

Confirming the rescue, the military through the Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, disclosed in a statement last night that Ali was moved from the 25 Task Force Brigade, Damboa in Borno State along with her baby to Maiduguri, for “medical attention and screening.”

She was reportedly rescued while she was with one Mohammed Hayatu, who claimed to be her husband.Damboa, 87 kilometres, south of Maiduguri, is one of the liberated communities.

The statement reads in part: “Troops of 25 Brigade, Damboa in conjunction with Civilian JTF deployed in one of the blocking
positions at Baale, near Damboa rescued one Miss Amina Ali and a suspected Boko Haram terrorist, Mohammed Hayat, who claimed to be her husband.

“Investigation shows that she is indeed one of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists on April 14, 2014 in Chibok; and her name is Amina Ali as against Falmata Mbalala that was earlier stated.”

On the current status of Amina, Usman said: “She is a nursing mother, with a four-month-old baby girl, who was named Safiya. Both the suspected Boko Haram terrorist and the nursing mother have been taken to Maiduguri for further medical attention and screening.”

Earlier yesterday, Usman told The Guardian on telephone that the military could not confirm the authenticity of the report since it was still profiling more than a hundred hostages rescued in Sambisa forest

“I am not confirming it,” he told The Guardian. “But I know we rescued a lot of people yesterday and the profiling is still ongoing. Even if one of them is one of the Chibok girls, such a person still needs profiling.”

Meanwhile, in continuation of Operation Crack in Sambisa Forest of Borno State against Boko Haram insurgency, troops of 7 Division of Nigerian Army on Tuesday killed 15 terrorists and rescued 41 hostages from the destroyed Njimia camp.

An initial statement issued by Usman to reporters in Maiduguri yesterday reads: “While the troops were advancing earlier in the morning on the same day, they cleared Boko Haram terrorists’ camps at Alafa, where they encountered heavy resistance from Boko Haram terrorists and killed 15 of them.

“The troops continued their advance through Alafa Main, Alafa Extension and Alafa Yaga-yaga, where they cleared remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists hibernating there before arriving at their main objective, Njimia, a terrorists’ camp.”Usman said that apart from destroying the camps, the troops rescued 41 hostages who were mostly women and children.“The troops recovered two dane guns, several vehicles, motorcycles and bicycles belonging to Boko Haram terrorists.”

He added: “One significant aspect of this feat was the combination of ground forces assault, Nigerian Air Force (NAF) jets provision for combat air support and monitoring of the operation directly by the Acting General Officer Commanding, 7 Division of Nigerian Army, Brig-Gen. Victor Ezugwu on board Air Force Reconnaissance Aircraft.”

Usman, however noted that “No casualty was recorded by the troops throughout the conduct of this operation.”Global news networks, including the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the Cable News Network (CNN) yesterday carried reports about Amina Ali Nkek, who was reportedly found by a vigilance group close to the border with Cameroun.

Online media platforms said the girl who was breastfeeding a child was said to have been taken to Chibok where her parents reportedly identified her. She was also quoted as saying that “all the girls are in Sambisa forest, but six of them had died.”

About 218 of the girls are still missing. The Boko Haram terrorist group had captured the girls while they were sitting for the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination organised by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) in April 2014.

Activists reportedly told BBC that Amina was recognised and identified by a civilian fighter belonging to the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF). According to the BBC, the news of the rescue was confirmed to it by Nigerian university teacher and women’s activist Hauwa Abdu.
Amina Ali reportedly hails from the town of Mbalala, south of Chibok, from where 25 of the kidnapped girls came.

An uncle, Yakubu Nkeki was quoted as saying that the rescued girl was later reunited with her mother in Chibok and would soon be moved to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

But Col. Usman yesterday said the BBC report or any other information regarding the rescue of one of the kidnapped Chibok girls on Tuesday should not be relied upon by the media until the military concluded profiling of all hostages. He explained that the Army was not consulted by any of the global news agencies before making the matter public.

“I don’t know where the BBC got their information,” he said. “You should not publish such information without getting clearance. They should have waited to get that before going on air. But you know there is competition among the media. It is killing the spirit.”

Continuing, Usman said: “Let’s get this thing right. What is happening is that we have been carrying out operations and, in the course of that, a lot of individuals were rescued.

“Yesterday many people were rescued. We cannot confirm whether one of them is one of the Chibok girls or not. We are profiling those who have been rescued. It is after the profiling that we can confirm. It is our joy to get this kind of things. And once we get it, we would tell it.”

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