By Olarewaju Kola and Rafiu Ajakaye
Another abducted Nigerian schoolgirl has been rescued, the army said on Thursday, bringing to 163 the number of the girls who have either escaped or been freed since at least 276 of them were abducted by Boko Haram militants in 2014.
"So far, preliminary investigations reveal that the young girl identified as Salomi Pagu is the same as the Chibok girl published on serial 86 of the online list of abducted Chibok girls," army spokesman Col. Onyema Nwachukwu said in a statement.
Nwachukwu said the girl was rescued in Pulka, an area bordering the Sambisa forest, the last fortress of the Boko Haram militants who had carried out the mass kidnapping. Salomi was rescued alongside another teenager Jamila Adams who the army said had a baby with her.
At least 57 of the girls had escaped on the night of the abduction from their dormitory in Chibok town on Borno state. Three others later returned on their own while Abuja negotiated the release of 103 others from their captors in deals brokered by Swiss authorities, the Red Cross and some local activists.
The latest rescue leaves 112 of the girls still in captivity.
While Nigeria continues to claim victory over the militants, Boko Haram has carried out several deadly suicide attacks and other high-profile kidnappings whose victims include government oil workers, varsity teachers and policewomen.
On Tuesday, at least 31 young men were reportedly abducted by insurgents near Gamboru town in northeastern Borno State, the heartbeat of the eight-year crisis, according to a top security source.
"The men have been missing since they left the town to fetch firewood on the morning of Jan. 2," the source told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity.
The army has yet to comment on the alleged incident.