More than 60 of the nearly 300 women and girls abducted by the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram, have reportedly managed to escape their captors in northern Nigeria, sources told Agence France-Presse on Sunday.
Though details of their getaway are still unknown, it is believed that 63 girls took the opportunity to flee during clashes Friday between Nigerian soldiers and Boko Haram militants in the northeast state of Borno. The group, whose name translates into “Western education is forbidden,” is still holding more than 200 schoolgirls who were kidnapped nearly three months ago.
In May, Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the April 14 abduction of 276 girls in the northeast town of Chibok. The militants – known for attacking schools, police stations, government buildings, and churches – threatened to “sell” their captives on the market.
The kidnapping sparked a global campaign to “Bring Back Our Girls,” with a number of high-profile figures – including First Lady Michelle Obama, and Malala Yousafzai – joining in. Days after Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the attack, the U.S. Senate’s 20 female lawmakers called on President Obama and the international community to crack down on the terrorist organization by placing Boko Haram on the United Nation’s al-Qaeda sanctions list. Weeks later, the U.N. Security Council obliged, adding Boko Haram to its list of organizations subject to arms embargoes, travel bans and asset freezes.