The Nigerian army on Tuesday rescued 200 girls and 93 women who had been kidnapped and taken hostage by the terrorist group Boko Haram.
The women were rescued during the Nigerian army’s offensive to take back the Sambisa Forest from Boko Haram, the army announced on Twitter.
“Troops this afternoon rescued 200 girls and 93 women from Sambisa Forest. We cannot confirm if the Chibok girls are in this group,” it said, adding Nigerian troops had also destroyed three camps run by the militants there.
According to Reuters, none of the hostages were among the more than 200 schoolgirls Boko Haram kidnapped from the northeastern village of Chibok just over a year ago. The fate of those girls is still unknown.
The kidnapping led to a worldwide call for the hostages to be returned to their homes. It also sparked a global social media campaign led on Twitter by the message #BringBackOurGirls.
Diplomats and intelligence officials say they believed at least some of the girls were being held in the forest about 100 km (60 miles) from Chibok, although US reconnaissance drones failed to find them, Reuters reported.
Nigerian forces backed by warplanes invaded the vast former colonial game reserve late last week as part of a push to win back territory from the terrorist group.
The group announced earlier this week that it had changed its name from Boko Haram to “Islamic State’s West Africa Province” (ISWAP).
Active since 2009, the Islamic militant group is notorious for mass killings and kidnappings. It currently operates on the border of four Western African countries: Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
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