Nigerian Girl Abducted in Chibok School Raid Rescued with Three Children After 10 Years

Nigerian troops have rescued a girl who was abducted from her school in northeastern Nigeria, together with her three children, according to a statement by the Nigerian army on Thursday.

Lydia Simon, who is currently five months pregnant, was rescued in the Gwoza council area of Borno state, where the insurgency by Islamic extremists has been concentrated for the past 15 years, the army statement revealed.

Simon was among the 276 girls seized from their school in Chibok village in April 2014 during the height of extremist violence in the region. The abduction of the Chibok girls was the first of several mass school kidnappings in Nigeria, sparking global outrage and the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.

The first of a series of mass school kidnappings in the West African nation, the Chibok abduction shocked the world and triggered a global social media campaign tagged #BringBackOurGirls.

The Nigerian army did not say how she was freed other than that she was rescued in a hotspot known as Ngoshe, 130 kilometers (74 miles) north of the Borno state capital of Maiduguri.

Some Chibok parents and security analysts have said there is little evidence to show there is a special military operation to free the women. Those who returned in recent years were mostly found abandoned in the forests.

Some of the recently freed women were either raped by the insurgents or forced into marriages, according to Chioma Agwuegbo, an activist who was part of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.

“We have heard their stories about the amount of trauma and violence they have faced. Somebody who was kidnapped 10 years ago is not returning as the same person,” Agwuegbo said.

Villagers in Chibok joined Simon’s family as they waited for when they would be allowed to see her. “The government has not told us anything (and) we are waiting for an official call,” said Yakubu Nkeki, chairman of the Chibok girls’ parents’ association.

While some Chibok parents and security analysts have expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of military efforts to free abducted women, others have highlighted the challenges faced by those who have returned. Many of them have experienced trauma and violence, including rape and forced marriages, during their captivity.


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