Hours after the president of Nigeria met with a schoolgirl rescued this week after more than two years in Boko Haram captivity, government officials announced Thursday that another of the missing girls had been found.
Soldiers and vigilante forces found the girl, Serah Luka, during an operation Thursday that killed 35 Boko Haram fighters and rescued 97 women and children, according to the military.
Ms. Luka, who the military said was receiving medical attention, had been at the boarding school in the village of Chibok just over two months when fighters raided and kidnapped the nearly 300 girls there during exam week in April 2014.
Earlier Thursday, President Muhammadu Buhari whisked Amina Ali, who was found Tuesday roaming a forest laden with Boko Haram fighters, to Abuja, the capital, in a presidential jet. She sat in a plush leather chair in the presidential villa before the country’s dignitaries.
Ms. Ali shook hands with the president, who held her sobbing baby, a 4-month-old girl, Safiya, as he showed mother and child to a crowd of journalists.
Local vigilante fighters found a malnourished Ms. Ali two days earlier as they were scouring the area for Boko Haram militants. She was with the baby and a man claiming to be her husband.
Government officials said the man was really a Boko Haram fighter.
Her rescue was the first since a few dozen of the girls escaped in the days after the kidnapping in Chibok — just 30 miles away from where she was found this week.
Now, 218 girls remain missing, believed to be somewhere in the Sambisa forest where Boko Haram members have been hiding out. On Thursday, Mr. Buhari renewed a pledge to find them all.
“Rest assured that this administration will continue to do all it can to rescue the remaining Chibok girls who are still in Boko Haram captivity,” Mr. Buhari said. “Amina’s rescue gives us new hope and offers a unique opportunity for vital information.”
The abduction of the girls has been a political embarrassment for Mr. Buhari. He took office last year after campaign pledges to find all the girls and stamp out Boko Haram. Neither has happened.
On Thursday, before news of another girl’s being found was made public, officials were quick to credit Mr. Buhari with Ms. Ali’s rescue.
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SOURCE: NY Times, Chris Stein and Dionne Searcey