Nigerian govt recommits to rescuing Chibok girls

A total of 276 schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram from Chibok in 2014.

Nigeria's President-elect Muhammadu Buhari. Picture: AFP.

PRETORIA - Marking 1,000 days since the kidnapping of scores of Chibok girls by Boko Haram insurgents, President Muhammadu Buhari has recommitted the federal government to securing their release.

He says 21 girls were released last year after talks with the extremists.

The president says Nigerians are not in complete despair, but they hope the schoolgirls will be reunited with their families.

Buhari says his government won’t spare any effort to free the girls.

Last week, troops found Rakiya Abubkar wandering around near Algarno, a former Boko Haram stronghold. She had a six-month-old baby with her.

A total of 276 schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram from Chibok in 2014 in one of the most infamous actions of their insurgency. More than 20 were released in October in a deal brokered by the International Red Cross. Others have escaped or been rescued but about 200 are believed to be still in captivity.

Boko Haram has killed 15,000 people and displaced more than two million during a seven-year-old insurgency aimed at creating an Islamic caliphate in northeast Nigeria.

The group controlled an area about the size of Belgium in early 2015 but has been pushed out of most of that territory over the last year by Nigeria's army and troops from neighbouring countries.

Last month, the army said it had seized a key Boko Haram camp in its last enclave in Nigeria in the vast Sambisa forest. The jihadists still stage suicide bombings in northeastern areas and in neighbouring Niger and Cameroon.

_Additional reporting by Reuters.
(Edited by Shimoney Regter)