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Africa

Chibok girl rescued from Boko Haram, says Nigeria's army

A Chibok schoolgirl along with her six-month-old child have been rescued by Nigerian forces, according to a military statement. The UN has warned of a humanitarian crisis in areas affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.

Nigeria's military on Thursday said it rescued a Chibok schoolgirl who had been kidnapped by Boko Haram militants nearly three years ago.

Soldiers had "during investigation of arrested suspected Boko Haram terrorists discovered … Rakiya Abubakar, with her six-month-old baby," army spokesman Sani Kukasheka Usman said in a statement.

In April 2014, the Boko Haram militant group abducted nearly 300 young women in the Nigerian town of Chibok, considered one of the most infamous actions committed in its seven-year insurgency.

Usman added that Abubakar had been a senior high school student when the abduction occurred.

Despite several efforts to rescue the girls, nearly 200 remain in captivity. In October, 21 girls were released by the militant group under a deal with the government, which had been negotiated by the Swiss government and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Dozens of the girls escaped within hours of the abduction. Two other Chibok schoolgirls have been discovered during the Nigerian military's campaign against the militant group.

However, President Muhammadu Buhari has faced criticism for failing to do more to save the remaining schoolgirls. Last month, he announced that the militant group had finally been "crushed."

Humanitarian crisis

At least 20,000 people have been killed and more than 2.5 million displaced in the Lake Chad region since it launched its insurgency in 2009, aimed at establishing a so-called Islamist caliphate.

In September, UN Assistant Secretary-General Toby Lanzer said that northern Nigeria and other areas affected by Boko Haram's bloody campaign will become the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

"If we don't engage in a much more comprehensive manner, including scaling up our emergency relief programs, what awaits us down the line is the biggest crisis facing any of us, anywhere," said Lanzer.

Up to 80,000 children are likely to die in northeast Nigeria unless aid organizations deliver "specialized therapeutic food," according to UN estimates.

Watch video 02:20

Boko Haram's war against education

ls/se (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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