Updated 5:43 p.m. on Tuesday, April 28:

The 293 girls and women rescued from Boko Haram camps in Sambisa Forest on Tuesday are not the missing Chibok schoolgirls, a Nigerian army spokesman told Reuters. 


Original story:

Nigerian troops rescued 200 girls and 93 women Tuesday from Sambisa Forest, a Boko Haram stronghold in northern Nigeria. The army said it could not yet confirm whether the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls are within this group, but officials are screening and identifying the freed captives, the Nigerian Defense Headquarters' official Twitter account said.

The Nigerian army seized three camps from the terrorists in the enclave, including Tokumbere. Boko Haram militants kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok last year. Some of the girls had managed to escape on their own, but more than 200 were still missing.

Earlier this year, Borno state Gov. Kashim Shettima told a Nigerian newspaper the schoolgirls were being held in various camps within Sambisa Forest, which covers more than 23,000 square miles -- mostly across Borno, Yobo, Gombe and Bauchi states in Nigeria’s northeast. However, experts have said it’s unlikely the girls are still alive after a year.

The Islamist extremists have killed thousands of people since launching their insurgency in northern Nigeria six years ago. But the intensified military operation by government and coalition forces has reportedly weakened the Boko Haram terror group and cut off its arms supply. Last week, Borno state residents told local newspapers the Islamist militants had run out of ammunition and resorted to less sophisticated weaponry, such as daggers and bows and arrows.