Rejoicing as 158 Boko Haram Captives Freed

There was rejoicing today in Damaturu in North Eastern Nigeria, as 158 women and children who had been held captive by Boko Haram militants, were reunited with their families. They were abducted during a raid on Katarko village in Yobe state and were held captive by Boko Haram for three weeks.

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Musa Idi Jidawa, the secretary of Yobe’s State Emergency Management Agency (Sema), told reporters that 62 of the 158 were married women and the rest were children. He said husbands of 16 of the women had been killed by Boko Haram during the raid.

There are conflicting reports as to how the abductees gained their freedom with some saying that the insurgents released them voluntarily and took them to the outskirts of Damaturu. Another claim is that the militants had come under attack from the security forces and had run away, leaving their captives behind.

The village of Katarko is still occupied by Boko Haram fighters although military operations are now being carried out there. It’s likely that the freed women and children will remain in Damaturu until it is safe to return to their village.

“This is fantastic news we have received today and we thank God and rejoice with the families of these women and children who have gained their freedom. However, we mustn’t become complacent or forget the others who are being held by Boko Haram such as the two hundred plus schoolgirls from Chibok. Let’s pray that we’re seeing the turning of the tide and that we will very soon be able to announce their freedom also.”

Ray Barnett