Two days after Tuesday’s triumphant rescue of nearly 300 Nigerian girls and women who had been kidnapped by Boko Haram, officials announced today that an additional 160 hostages have been rescued. It is unclear whether any of the girls are the missing Chibok schoolgirls.
Earlier today, Sani Usman, a spokesman for the Nigerian Army, said that soldiers stormed nine terrorist camps in the Sambisa Forest, which is the same location where the women and girls were rescued from earlier this week. One female hostage was killed during the attack, and eight others were injured. Nigerian officials are still working to identify the newly rescued women.
“Whoever they may be, the important thing is that Nigerians held captive under very severe and inhuman conditions have been freed by our gallant troops,” defense spokesman Chris Olukolade said in a statement.
Details surrounding the conditions at the camp where the women were held have not been released yet, but previous hostages, recounting their own experiences, told officials that they were subjected to psychological and sexual abuse and were forced to fight alongside the extremists.
The nearly 500 people who have been rescued are only a fraction of the missing girls and women who have been kidnapped in the last 18 months. Amnesty International reports that 2,000 girls and women have been taken from their homes since January 2014, and Boko Haram attacks have left 15,000 dead and more than 1 million homeless.
“Now that some girls have been released, we want all girls released,” U.N. Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown said in a statement. “And we want them home with their families in days—not months or years.”