Kano – Nigeria said on Friday that it had found two former “Chibok girls”, eight years after their abduction by the jihadist group Boko Haram.
The two women were among 276 schoolgirls aged between 12 and 19 who were abducted in 2014 from their boarding school in Chibok, northeastern Nigeria.
The outrage sparked a global campaign under the “BringBackOurGirls” hashtag.
Hannatu Musa and Hauwa Luka escaped from the Sambisa Forest, a Boko Haram enclave in the northeastern state of Borno, and reached the town of Bama, bordering the vast forest, where they raised the alarm.
General Christopher Musa, the commander of the military forces in the region, presented the two young women and their children to the media outside a military barracks in Maiduguri, the regional capital of Borno.
“Hannatu and Kauna were rescued on 26th of July by troops of 21 special armoured brigade in Bama,” he said before allowing them to speak.
Hannatu Musa, who was 18 when she was kidnapped, was married to a Boko Haram fighter, with whom she had two children.
“I sought permission from my husband to visit Hauwa in another part of Sambisa,” the 26-year-old woman explained.
“We waited until it was dusk before we set out and trekked for two days before we reached Bama where we were received by soldiers.”
Hauwa Luka was 19 at the time of the abduction.
“I have been looking for a way to escape and when Hannatu came visiting and brought the idea I immediately agreed to her plan,” said the young woman who left with her baby on her back.
Of the 276 schoolgirls abducted in 2014, 57 managed to escape, and another 80 were exchanged for Boko Haram commanders after negotiations with the authorities.
Later, more girls have been found but more than a hundred are still missing. According to propaganda videos, many were forcibly married to jihadist fighters.
Since the kidnapping, many other schools and universities have been attacked in northern Nigeria in recent years, some by jihadists, but mostly by criminal groups who engage in mass kidnapping for ransom.
The jihadist insurgency in the northeast has lasted 13 years, leaving 40 000 people dead and 2.2 million displaced.