The first kidnapped schoolgirl to escape from Islamic extremist group Boko Haram’s stronghold in the Sambisa Forest has been flown to Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, to meet the country’s president.
Officials say the 19-year-old, who was 17 when she was abducted along with 218 other girls from a boarding school in the town of Chibok, will meet with president Muhammadu Buhari.
Aid workers say the young woman, who was found with her four-month-old baby, urgently needs reproductive health services and psychosocial counselling.
Hunters found the young woman wandering on the fringes of the remote north-eastern forest on Tuesday and reunited her with her mother, her family doctor Idriss Danladi said.
She has already provided valuable information, revealing that some of the Chibok girls have died in captivity and the others continue to be held hostage, according to Danladi.
Authorities will be asking her where her classmates are being held. If Boko Haram tries to move large groups of girls because of her escape, those movements can be captured by satellites and air reconnaissance.
The woman, with her mother and baby were taken to a military camp and flown by helicopter on Wednesday to Maiduguri, the biggest city in the north-east that is the birthplace of Boko Haram and the headquarters of Nigeria’s war against the extremist group.
They were handed over to Borno state governor Kashim Shettima, who declared he would in turn hand her to president Muhammadu Buhari “to present to the nation”.
The woman’s uncle confirmed she arrived in Abuja yesterday for an expected meeting with Buhari later in the day.
Hostages who escaped have said Boko Haram forces victims to convert, to marry, and to copulate “to create a new generation” of extremists.
The teenager and her baby were examined at an air force medical facility on Wednesday and were found to be stable with normal blood pressure, according to a Nigerian army spokesman.
She was then released to the military’s Operation Lafiya Dole headquarters for further investigation and handing over.
Nigeria’s military claimed it had rescued the young woman, though its initial statement identified the escapee as another Chibok girl who is still missing.
Her escape highlights the failure of two Nigerian governments and the military to rescue the girls snatched from the government boarding school on the night of April 14, 2014.
The schoolgirls have not been found, despite the help of drones, hostage negotiators and intelligence officers sent by the United States, France and Britain.
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