ABUJA – Reuters
A second girl who was among more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in a raid on their school in the northeastern Nigerian town of Chibok more than two years ago has been rescued, a spokesman for the Nigerian army said on May 19.
Army spokesman Sani Usman said in an e-mailed statement that the girl was among 97 women and children held hostage by Boko Haram who were freed on the morning of May 19 after clashes between soldiers and jihadist militants in northeastern Borno state.
Amina Ali Darsha Nkeki, the first girl to be rescued, was found by soldiers working with a vigilante group on May 17 near Damboa, south of Maiduguri in the remote northeast where Boko Haram has waged a seven-year insurgency to set up an Islamic state.
Officials confirmed Amina was one of 219 girls abducted from the government school in Chibok in April 2014. Late on May 19, the army said an operation in Damboa to the rescue of nearly 100 hostages that included the second Chibok schoolgirl.
“We are glad to state that among those rescued is a girl believed to be one of the Chibok Government Secondary School girls that were abducted,” said Usman, adding that she was receiving medical treatment.
He said her name is Serah Luka and she was from the northeastern town of Madagali, in the state of Adamawa, which borders Borno.
The army spokesman said it was possible that three other girls that Serah referred to as having fled and been rescued when the troops arrived may also be among the Chibok girls, adding that this was being investigated.
A photograph of Serah released by the military shows her wearing a blue jilbab, a loose Muslim garment revealing her face but concealing her torso and arms.
“She averred that she reported at the school barely two months and one week before her unfortunate abduction along with other girls over two years ago,” said Usman.
Earlier on May 19 the governor of Borno state, where Chibok is located, said the army was drawing up plans and moving into a Boko Haram forest stronghold in a bid to rescue the remaining girls.
“We believe that in the coming weeks we shall recover the rest of the girls,” Governor Kashim Shettima told reporters. “The military is already moving into the forest.”