Sixty more of the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls have escaped their captors, it was reported last night.
Nearly 300 were taken from their boarding school dormitory in the north western village of Chibok by Islamic terrorists on April 14.
Around 50 had previously managed to flee, meaning more than 150 are still prisoners.
Hope of a successful rescue is fading as nearly three months have passed since the kidnapping and negotiations appear to have made little progress.
But last night news agency AFP reported that a local vigilante, Abbas Gava, said he had ‘received an alert from my colleagues . . . that about 63 of the abducted women and girls had made it back home’.
The escape was confirmed by a security source in Maiduguri, the regional capital, on the condition of anonymity, AFP reported.
Terrorist group Boko Haram, which roughly translates as Western education is forbidden, aims to set up an Islamist state in Africa's largest economy.
Members have killed thousands in bomb and gun attacks in a five-year insurgency, striking as far afield as the central city of Jos and the capital Abuja.
Weeks after the kidnapping the group’s leader Abubakar Shekau released a video in which he said he would sell the girls into slavery or marry them off if members of his sect were not released from prison.
The government has come under fire for its confused response as President Goodluck Jonathan ruled out releasing prisoners, but ministers said it would be possible to negotiate.
The abduction triggered a worldwide campaign, Bring Back Our Girls, with celebrities taking part including the U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama.
Amnesty International estimates about 1,500 people have been killed in northeast Nigeria in the first three months of this year.
Just two weeks ago there were unconfirmed reports from Nigerian media of another kidnapping of more than 90 villagers in the same area.