MAIDUGURI, Nigeria –The Nigerian army freed at least 160 girls and women from the hands of Boko Haram, as it continued its advance on the Sambisa natural reserve, the last major stronghold of the jihadist group, Nigerian armed forces spokesman Col. Sani Usman reported on Thursday.
Usman told the press that Nigerian forces released around 100 girls and 60 women, just two days after the army rescued 200 girls and 93 other women in the same area.
In total, the Nigerian army has rescued 453 girls and women being held captive in various Boko Haram camps located deep in the Sambisa Forest, a natural reserve of 60,000 square kilometers (around 23,166 square miles) in northeastern Nigeria.
During the rescue operation, eight hostages were injured and one soldier was killed, although the exact details of the operation have yet to be clarified.
Apaprently none of the 293 girls and women rescued on Tuesday were among the Chibok schoolgirls who were infamously kidnapped more than a year ago.
Human rights watchdog Amnesty International recently denounced that in recent years, Boko Haram has abducted at least 2,000 girls and women, many of whom end up as sex slaves or domestic servants for the jihadists.
A few days ago, the Nigerian army launched an offensive to eliminate Boko Haram’s final bastion, producing several successes such as the release of 453 girls and women, and the destruction of at least three camps in Sambisa.