First of Chibok Girls Kidnapped by Boko Haram Found Alive: Reports

Bring Back Our Girls campaigner
A woman campaigns for the release of the Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram in a demonstration in Lagos, Nigeria, on May 29, 2014. One of the Chibok girls has reportedly been rescued alive. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images

Updated | One of the Chibok girls kidnapped in Nigeria has been rescued, the first since more than 200 girls were abducted by Boko Haram in 2014, according to activists and the Nigerian army.

Tsambido Hosea Abana, the chairman of a group of parents of the Chibok girls in the Nigerian capital Abuja, tweeted on Wednesday that the girl—named as Amina Ali Nkeki—was found on Tuesday in the village of Kulakaisa, on the fringes of the militant group's stronghold of the Sambisa Forest, Borno state, northeast Nigeria. Abana said that the girl was found by vigilantes and is breastfeeding a child.

Abana tells Newsweek that the girl has been positively identified by her family and is now being cared for by the Nigerian army in Damboa, Borno state. Abana says that the girl indicated that six of the other Chibok girls have died, but that the others are being held together in a secure location in the forest.

"This is a very great hope, [greater] than any other hope...now that this one has come out and confirmed that they are still alive," says Abana. "We are calling on the [Nigerian] government and the international community to team up since she said that the place where they are is so secure that the Nigerian army cannot penetrate [alone]. So we need more hands to come and help us to rescue them quickly."

Nigerian Army spokesman Colonel Sani Usman confirmed to Newsweek via text message that one of the girls had been rescued. Usman named the girl as Falmata Mbalala. It is unclear why the two names do not tally, though the latter name may be a reference to the girl's hometown—she is believed to be from Mbalala, south of Chibok, the BBC reported. The girl's uncle, Yakubu Nkeki, told AP that she is now 19 years old, having been 17 when she was abducted.

Boko Haram militants abducted 276 girls from their school in Chibok, Borno state, on April 14, 2014. Fifty-seven escaped soon afterwards, and until now none of the remaining 219 girls had been rescued.

The news was shared by Oby Ezekwesili, one of the founders of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) movement that has campaigned for the Nigerian government to put more resources towards finding the girls.

The girls' abduction sparked global outrage, with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls being shared thousands of times across social media in the following months.

As recently as December 2015, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari admitted that he had "no firm intelligence" as to the whereabouts of the girls. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau previously threatened to marry the girls off to fighters from the group, which is affiliated with the Islamic State militant group (ISIS).

Buhari ordered a new probe into the kidnapping in January after a meeting with BBOG leaders. Boko Haram released a proof-of-life video in April, featuring around 15 of the girls, which purported to show that they were alive.

This story has been updated to include comments from Tsambido Hosea Abana and Colonel Sani Usman.

First of Chibok Girls Kidnapped by Boko Haram Found Alive: Reports | World
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