The Nigerian army claims to have located two more female students who were taken from a secondary school by Boko Haram insurgents more than eight years ago. When Islamists kidnapped around 300 girls in the village of Chibok in northeastern Nigeria in 2014, there was an outcry all across the world.
Since then, the majority of the victims have either been released or managed to escape, but many are still missing. As the army said they were both found with children, it implies the two hostages gave birth while they were being held captive. A child was observed with one of the abductees, while two children were seen with the other.
Other mass kidnapping victims have spoken of being coerced into converting to Islam and marrying the group’s soldiers.
The “intercepted Chibok girls and their children,” according to the officials, were being treated at a military hospital. Following their liberation from Boko Haram, other abductees were given housing and rehabilitation by the Nigerian government.
According to the advocacy group Bring Back Our Girls, about 100 girls remain missing.
According to reports, the militants have recently been deserting their surviving hostages, possibly as a result of a fierce international military offensive against them. 40,000 people have died and 2.2 million have been displaced as a result of a protracted jihadist insurgency in north-eastern Nigeria, according to the AFP news agency.
In the years that followed the 2014 kidnapping of Chibok girls, other colleges and universities in the area came under attack.
Some of the attacks have been committed by jihadists, but more often, large-scale kidnappings for ransom are carried out by criminal organizations locally referred to as “bandits.”
The Nigerian government reportedly paid Boko Haram $3.3 million (£2.4 million) in ransom to release the Chibok girls after discussions, but there has been little official participation in other school abductions. Instead, it has fallen to parents and family members to make the payments.