Abducted Nigerian schoolgirls remain holed up in the vast Sambisa Forest, a known Boko Haram hideout in north-eastern Nigeria, a local NGO unveiled.
“Upon interrogation, the millitants revealed that 234 girls abducted from Chibok were still in Sambisa forest and that they had been divided into three groups,” Peregrino Brimah, head of the non-profit group Every Nigeria Do Something (ENDS), told Anadolu Agency on Saturday.
Brimah said local vigilante arrested eight Boko Haram militants Friday evening in Goym village in Dikwa local government area of the Borno state when the militants “came to get food and items” from the village close to Sambisa.
“They said they were sent to get items including cloths for the girls,” he said.
Last month, Boko Haram militants stormed a school in Chibok, located on the fringes of Sambisa Forest, loading scores of schoolgirls onto trucks before driving away unchallenged.
In a 17-minute video last week, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau offered to exchange the kidnapped girls for Boko Haram militants held by Nigerian authorities.
At least four countries, including the U.S. and Britain, are currently assisting in search and rescue efforts.
ENDS maintains a vast network with local vigilantes on whose behalf the group has requested for weapons from the Nigerian authorities to battle the insurgents.
Brimah called for a “military support” in Dikwa to ward off militant attacks on civilians following Friday’s arrests.
“The civilians also hope ‘the Americans’ will act on this intelligence to rescue the abducted girls,” he added.
Boko Haram, which means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language, first emerged in the early 2000s preaching against government misrule and corruption.
The group later became violent, however, after the death of its leader in 2009 while in police custody.
In the five years since, the shadowy sect has been blamed for numerous attacks – on places of worship and government institutions – and thousands of deaths.
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