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Nigerian Army Frees 800 Boko Haram Hostages

The rescued hostages are from the same state as the kidnapped schoolgirls.

Image via Twitter

The Nigerian Army stuck a huge blow against Boko Haram on Tuesday. After intense fighting, soldiers freed more than 800 hostages in 12 villages in Nigeria’s Borno State. “The Boko Haram insurgency has been massively decimated to the extent that it is no longer in the position to carry out spectacular attacks,” Nigerian Information Minister Lai Mohammed told Al Jazeera. The Global Terrorism Index recently ranked Boko Haram as the world’s deadliest terrorist organization. The group is notorious for kidnapping 276 Chibok schoolgirls from Borno State in 2014.

The military has not confirmed whether any of the 800 hostages are Chibok schoolgirls, but there’s a strong possibility because all of the freed hostages are from Borno. Their rescue would be welcome news after today’s arrest of a 15-year-old girl in Cameroon who claimed to be a kidnapped Chibok student. The girl was taken into custody after an attempted suicide bombing in the village of Limani.

“Using children to carry and detonate explosives is not a new tactic for Boko Haram but it is an intensification,” Elizabeth Donnelly, assistant head of the Africa program at London's Chatham House think tank, told NBC News. “Boko Haram has been abducting and conscripting children and young men and women for a long period for various purposes—they will be seen by the movement as expendable resources.” Boko Haram launched its insurgency in 2009, resulting in more than 17,000 deaths and the displacement of 2.6 million people. It has recently pledged its allegiance to ISIS, and its ultimate goal is to create an Islamic state in northeastern Africa.

You can join a community in support of the Chibok schoolgirls by using #BringBackOurGirls on social media.

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