-- The Chibok schoolgirl rescued from Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria this week was transported to the capital, Abuja, today, where she met privately with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigerian officials said.
Nigerian troops, along with a vigilante group, found the young woman, who has been identified by the army as Amina Ali, in the vast Sambisa Forest, a stronghold of the terrorist group.
The teenager was found with a baby, who authorities said is her daughter, and a man identified by the army as Mohammed Hayatu, who said he is her husband. Hayatu has been detained for questioning as a suspected Boko Haram terrorist. The three were examined by military medics and deemed stable, the army said today. Amina has been reunited with her mother.
“Preliminary investigation shows that she is indeed one of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists ... Her name is Amina Ali,” Nigerian army spokesman Col. Sani Kukasheka Usman said in an online statement Wednesday. “She is a nursing mother with a 4-month-old baby who was named Safiya.”
Amina’s rescue could provide information on the dozens of other Chibok schoolgirls whose fates are still unknown. Amina is one of 276 girls and young women who were abducted by Boko Haram militants from the Government Girls Secondary School on April 14, 2014, in the small northeastern town of Chibok in Borno state. Dozens of the girls were able to escape in the first few hours after the kidnapping, but more than 200 remain missing. Their plight has garnered worldwide attention from political leaders and celebrities alike, prompting the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls.
The Nigerian military’s failure to rescue the girls led in part to President Goodluck Jonathan’s electoral defeat to Buhari in March last year. Since taking office, Buhari has made the war against Boko Haram a top priority, and Amina’s rescue could give the former military ruler a leg up.
Buhari, who has also vowed to fight corruption, said graft was largely to blame for the army’s inability to quickly defeat Boko Haram, which aims to oust the Nigerian government and establish an Islamic state in West Africa. In the past year, the Nigerian leader has replaced the military top brass and relocated the command center to Maiduguri in Borno, the heartland of Boko Haram’s nearly seven-year insurgency.
“When we curbed corruption and removed the injustice in the military, we began to make progress,” Buhari said in Abuja on Wednesday.