First of schoolgirls seized by Boko Haram found

Nigerian teenager Amina Ali is the first of the so-called 'Chobok girls' to be freed after she and over 200 classmates were kidnapped by Boko Haram militants more than two years ago.
A member of the Bring Back Our Girls movement pressing for the release of the missing girls in Lagos last month. Boko Haram seized 276 students from a secondary school in Chibok two years ago.
A member of the Bring Back Our Girls movement pressing for the release of the missing girls in Lagos last month. Boko Haram seized 276 students from a secondary school in Chibok two years ago.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Teenager, discovered in forest area, says other girls are still there but six are dead

KANO (Nigeria) • The first of 219 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram from Chibok in north-east Nigeria more than two years ago has been found, but six other girls are reportedly dead.

Amina Ali was discovered on Tuesday in the Sambisa Forest area of Borno state by civilian vigilantes assisting the military and brought back to her home town of Mbalala, near Chibok.

"She met her parents, who recognised their daughter, before she was taken to the military base in Damboa," Mr Ayuba Alamson, a community leader in Chibok, said yesterday.

Nigerian army has confirmed that a Chibok schoolgirl has been found.

The circumstances of her discovery have not yet been officially confirmed. Activists said the girl, who was allegedly pregnant, was recognised by a militia member near the border with Cameroon, The Independent reported.

The teenager appeared to have given birth while in captivity.

"She was carrying a baby but I do not know whether it is a boy or girl," said Mr Lawan Zannah, secretary of the association of parents of missing Chibok girls.

Mr Yakubu Nkeki, head of the Abducted Chibok Girls Parents' group, said Amina was 17 when she was abducted. He added: "She's the daughter of my neighbour... They brought her to my house."

Mr Tsambido Hosea Abana, a Chibok community leader in the capital, Abuja, from the Bring Back Our Girls pressure group, was the first to give details about the discovery.

He told BBC that Amina was found by the vigilantes after venturing into the forest to search for firewood.

"She was saying… all the Chibok girls are still there in the Sambisa except six of them that have already died," he said.

Boko Haram seized 276 students from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok on the night of April 14, 2014. Fifty-seven managed to escape in the immediate aftermath.

Nothing had been heard from the 219 still held captive since a video published by the Islamists in May 2014 until an apparent "proof of life" message was sent to the Nigerian government earlier this year.

The abduction sparked outrage worldwide and brought global attention to the Boko Haram insurgency, which has killed at least 20,000 people and made more than 2.6 million homeless since 2009.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 19, 2016, with the headline 'First of schoolgirls seized by Boko Haram found'. Print Edition | Subscribe