Nigerian president declares Boko Haram militants defeated, no sign of missing Chibok schoolgirls

By Amy R. Connolly  |  Dec. 24, 2016 at 10:19 AM
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ABUJA, Nigeria, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- Nigeria's military forces have driven Boko Haram extremists from their last stronghold in the Sambisa forest, but there is no sign of the Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by the group in 2014, officials said.

President Muhammadu Buhari, in making the announcement on Saturday, said Nigerian forces would remain vigilant to fight off suicide bombers, village attacks and other independent assaults on remote areas by remnants of the extremist group.

"I was told by the Chief of Army Staff that the camp fell at about 1:35 p.m. on Friday, December 22, and that the terrorists are on the run, and no longer have a place to hide," the president said.

The group began attacks on northeastern Nigeria in 2009 and pledge allegiance to the Islamic State. The organization is believed to be holding some 200 schoolgirls kidnapped from a school in Chibok. The abductions spark an international outcry and social media campaign #BringBackOurGirls.

"Further efforts should be intensified to locate and free our remaining Chibok girls still in captivity," he said. "May God be with them."

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