By Omeiza Ajayi & Ndahi Marama
Troops of 121 Battalion, Nigerian Army, deployed at Pulka, Gwoza Local Government Area, Borno, for Operation Lafiya Dole, yesterday, rescued one of the kidnapped Chibok girls.
Col. Sani Usman, who confirmed the rescue, said the girl was discovered while the troops were screening some escapees from Boko Haram terrorists’ hideout in Sambisa forest at about 6 a.m.
Usman gave the name of the rescued girl as Maryam Ali Maiyanga.
“She was discovered to be carrying a 10-month-old son, named Ali. She has been taken to the unit’s medical facility for proper medical check up.” The spokesman, quoted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), stated.
“It is imperative to state that troops have been working round the clock to clear remnants of Boko Haram terrorists wherever they might be hibernating and also rescue all persons held hostages by terrorists.” The advocacy group, Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) movement, has, in the meantime, confirmed the identity of the rescued girl.
A statement by the BBOG spokesperson, Sesugh Akume, identified Maryam as number 198 on its list. “We welcome news of the return of another of our abducted #ChibokGirls. Reports from the Acting Director of the Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Usman Kukasheka, state that Maryam Ali Maiyanga was found amongst a group of fellow escapees by troops of 121 Battalion, Nigerian Army, deployed at Pulka, Gwoza Local Government Area, Borno State,”the statement said.
“Preliminary investigations on our part, show that Maryam Ali (Number 198 on our list), a school prefect, is from Askira Uba and was abducted along with her twin, Halima Ali (Number 197), who is yet to return. We shall update the public with more details as necessary.
“We applaud the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari, the military and other security formations working day and night to route the terrorists and rescue all Nigerians in captivity.” The Boko Haram terrorists had released 21 of the 219 kidnapped girls on October 13 after negotiations between them and the Federal Government which was facilitated by the Swiss government and the Red Cross.
The girls were abducted in April 2014 by the insurgents.
Meanwhile, the Commanding Officer, 272 battallion, Colonel Abu Ali, and four of his soldiers were killed while four soldiers sustained gunshot injuries in a surprise Boko Haram attack on their location in Borno State, yesterday.
But troops of the 119 Battalion, which position was attacked, fought back, killin 11 of the Boko Haram terrorists.
Confirming the death of the officer, Col Sani Usman said, “On Friday, at about 10.00pm, suspected Boko Haram terrorists attacked a 119 Battalion Nigerian Army location at Mallam Fatori, northern Borno State. “The troops fought gallantly and repelled the attack, killing 14 Boko Haram terrorists.
“Unfortunately, we lost an officer and four soldiers, while four other soldiers sustained various degrees of injuries during the encounter. “One of those killed in action, was Lieutenant Colonel Muhammad Abu Ali, the Commanding Officer of 272 Task Force Tank Battalion.” The Army spokesman recalled that because of the late senior officer’s exceptional bravery and gallantry, he was given an accelerated promotion from the rank of Major to Lieutenant Colonel and was decorated by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General TY Buratai, at Gamboru Ngala on September 9, 2015 during an operational visit.