Seized

16 women and girls abducted by Boko Haram as more than 800 hostages freed

Villages in Borno State, Nigeria have been devastated by attacks by Boko Haram. (STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

Nigerian troops freed more than 800 people held by Boko Haram fighters across multiple villages, the army said on Thursday. All the hostages were rescued in Borno state, with 520 recovered in Kusumma village on Tuesday in a confrontation with Boko Haram fighters that left 22 terrorists dead. A second raid, in which a further three Islamists were killed, rescued a further 309 people across 11 other villages.

On the same day as the raids, in the neighboring Adamawa state, Boko Haram abducted 16 women, including two girls. Locals said the hostages were seized in the bush while fetching firewood and fishing in a nearby river under the escort of two civilian vigilantes assisting the military against the Islamists. “When the civilian vigilantes escorting the women saw the heavily armed Boko Haram fighters advancing on them they fled, leaving the women to their fate,” said Madagali resident Garba Barnabas. Two women were able to escape by jumping into the river and pretending to have drowned, later returning to the village to raise the alarm, Barnabas added.

Human rights groups say Boko Haram have kidnapped thousands of women and young girls since the beginning of their insurgency in 2009, including more than 200 schoolgirls who were abducted from the Borno town of Chibok nearly two years ago.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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A Chibok girl recalls her escape from Boko Haram

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