The schoolgirls abducted on Monday night at Chibok, Borno State, have been rescued.
The military, in a statement, said only eight out of the reported 100 abducted girls were still missing.
Military men and local hunters, alongside members of vigilante in Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State, on Wednesday, pursued the insurgents in search of the abducted school girls and rescued 80 of them.
This came as the military confirmed that more students of the Government Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok were freed on Wednesday evening in the ongoing search and rescue operations to free the abducted students.
In a press release signed by Major-General Chris Olukolade, the Director of Defence Information, the principal of the school confirmed that only eight of the students are still missing.
He also confirmed that one of the terrorists who carried out the attack on the school has also been captured.
The military intervention and search and rescue operation to ensure the safety of the remaining students is ongoing in the suspected areas.
It was gathered that the insurgents, who had earlier stopped an articulated vehicle loaded with food items in order to take the girls away, got stuck in the bush while they were trying to cross over the muddy area in the bush between Chibok and Askira/Uba.
Father of one of the rescued girls, Malam Ali Iliya, who spoke with newsmen on phone, said “my daughter said when the trailer got stuck, some of the girls began to jump out and run for their lives and she followed suit.
“They were scattered in the bush when the vigilantes and local hunters found them. Some of them were wounded, some were with fracture as a result of jumping from the vehicle, but we are happy our children are rescued. Now, we are praying for those who are still with the Boko Haram and our prayer is that every father would have his child back.”
He said his daughter, Hajara, was sound and healthy but weak as a result of fear, adding that “we are lucky our children were not shot by the insurgents.
“They allowed those who could run to go, but those who could not run, either as a result of fear or wound, were still with them in the bush. My daughter said the abductors were over 100 and that the girls were 243 when they were asked by the insurgent to count themselves.”
He said many of the children who returned home on Wednesday were doing well, adding that “our relations have been calling and some are on their way to Chibok from Maiduguri. Those who are far in Abuja, Lagos and other places have been calling. They have destroyed everything, but those of us who are alive are thankful to God. Our prayers is that this inhumanity would come to an end soon.”
This came as Governor Kashim Shettima, on Wednesday announced an offer of N50 million to anyone that offered useful information leading to the rescue of some female students abducted by suspected members of the Boko Haram sect.
Shettima said a total of 129 final year science students undertaking exams were at the school hostel as of the time of the attack.
He said others were day students, while the rest of the students were on holiday.
He, however, said the exact number of abducted students was yet to be ascertained, but that a register had since been opened for parents and guardians to make formal reports on missing students, adding that 50 complaints by parents and guardians had so far, been documented in the register.
The governor said his government was willing to do everything to ensure that the female students got reunited with their family.
He said he had been in constant touch with the principal of the school and the leaders of Chibok and had got everyone involved in the search for the students.
On how the initial 10 students escaped, the governor said they were asked to be involved in the preparation of meals by the insurgents and they took the opportunity of washing plates to flee the camp.
He said he would have been in Chibok but for security advice, which told him to stay away for now, as search and rescue operations launched by the military and vigilance men were ongoing.
Meanwhile, the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram were taken to a stronghold of the Islamist group, parents said Wednesday.
“Three girls who escaped and returned to Chibok area briefed locals about the attack at the home of the area’s tribal chief on Wednesday,” said Lawal Zanna, whose daughter was among those abducted.
“The girls told us they were taken to the Konduga district part of Sambisa forest by their captors,” Zanna said, referring to an area where Boko Haram was known to have well-fortified camps.
His account was supported by two other Chibok residents, who asked that their names be withheld.
The girls said they ran after getting permission from the gunmen to use the bathroom and were helped back to Chibok by nomadic herdsmen from the Fulani ethnic group.
Senator Ali Ndume, who represents the region, said the pursuit included soldiers backed by members of a local vigilance force, which formed last year to help fight Boko Haram.
“They are now combing the forest to rescue the school girls,” he told AFP, adding that “they are being aided by surveillance helicopters,” he said, but noted the difficulty of the search in a vast forest that extends to neighbouring Cameroon. – Nigerian Tribune.