"We're all working night and day" to free Boko Haram captives

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A view from a rally held in May 2014 in Lagos, calling for the return of over two hundred Nigerian secondary school girls abducted in April by the extremist group Boko Haram. UN File Photo

The Nigerian government together with the UN and other agencies are "all working night and day" to try and free captives being held by the terrorist group, Boko Haram.

That's according to the UN Humanitarian Affairs chief, Stephen O'Brien, who has been on a visit to the Lake Chad Basin region.

He said reports that one of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram two years ago had been found, had generated "quiet excitement" across Nigeria.

Matthew Wells reports.

A total of 276 schoolgirls were snatched from their classrooms in north east Nigeria in 2014, and according to news reports on Wednesday, Amina Ali Nkeki is the first to be freed of the 219 who remained in captivity, following an initial escape.

She was travelling with a baby and a suspected Boko Haram fighter, when she was picked up by government-backed forces.

Speaking to reporters by phone from Nigeria, Under-Secretary-General O'Brien said that multiple UN agencies were working "extremely closely" on a local and national level, to help free all people held by Boko Haram.

Over 2,000 women and girls have been abducted by the terrorists.

"The news of one of the Chibok girls being found and being returned, is of course something which gives people a higher degree of confidence and hope, but it is a quiet excitement. There is a deep recognition that there are thousands more who must now also be found. We are all working night and day to try and do that."

Mr O'Brien said it was "wonderful" news that the girl had been found but said apart from those abducted, the wider humanitarian needs were urgent.

2.2 million Nigerians have been displaced due to Boko Haram, and more than 20,000 killed.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1'13"

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