- DSS, military, Red Cross, Swiss govt played roles
- 163 girls released so far, 111 still in captivity
- Privacy of the girls should be a priority-Amnesty Inter’l
The Federal government of Nigeria has confirmed it secured the release of 82 more Chibok girls who had been in captivity since April 14, 2014 when they were kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists while taking examination at Government Secondary School in Borno State North East of the country.
The girls were swapped with some Boko Haram prisoners, according to the government official.
The Presidential Spokesperson, Mr. Garba Shehu, in a statement on Saturday, said that President Muhammadu Buhari, “is pleased to announce that negotiations to release more of the Chibok Girls have yielded results”.
Shehu also disclosed those Security agencies, especially the Department of State Services (DSS) and the military, Swiss government, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), local and international Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) facilitated their release.
He stated: “Today, 82 more Chibok Girls were released. After lengthy negotiations, our security agencies have taken back these girls, in exchange for some Boko Haram suspects held by the authorities. The released Chibok Girls are due to arrive in Abuja tomorrow Sunday May 7, and will be received by the President.
“President Muhammadu Buhari expresses his deep gratitude to all who played a part in ensuring the success of this operation, as follows: Security agencies, the military, the Government of Switzerland, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and local and international NGOs.”
“The President has repeatedly expressed his total commitment towards ensuring the safe return of the Chibok Girls, and all other Boko Haram captives.”
The Spokesperson said that Buhari has received detailed briefings from the Director-General of the DSS at every stage of the negotiations/operation.
Shehu also confirmed that unlike last year’s scenario, which reportedly saw the release of the girls in exchange for cash, the girls were allegedly freed exchange with some of the arrested terrorist kingpins.
The latest release of the 82 more girls has brought the number of the kidnapped Chibok girls freed so far to 163.
Boko Haram had seized 276 female students from the GSS in Chibok on the night of April 14, 2014 with about 57 of the girls managed to escape in the immediate aftermath of the abduction.
However, negotiations between the federal government and Boko Haram had led to the release of 21 of the girls while another three were freed by soldiers.
But despite losing most of the territory they controlled at some point, including the dreaded Sambisa forest to Nigerian troops, the insurgents kept hold of an estimated 195 girls, with some of them already feared dead.
In a related development, the Amnesty International’s (AIN) Nigeria Director, Mr. Osai Ojigho, has advised that the privacy of the rescued Chibok girls must be respected.
Ojigho stated this on Saturday in response to the announcement by Nigerian government that secured the release of 82 Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram.
He said: “The release of 82 of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls by the armed group Boko Haram is a big relief. However, it is vital now that they receive adequate physical and psychosocial counselling and support so that they can fully reintegrate in their communities. The government should also respect their privacy and ensure that the released girls are reunited with their families and not kept in lengthy detention and security screening which can only add to their suffering and plight.
“Boko Haram members have executed and tortured thousands of civilians and raped and forced into marriage girls and women. They have been indoctrinated and even forced to fight for Boko Haram. The Nigerian authorities must now do more to ensure the safe return of the thousands of women and girls, as well as men and boys abducted by Boko Haram.”
Chibok Girls kidnap and rescue in numbers
- 276 were abducted in 2014
- 57 escaped between in 2014
- 3 rescued by military/security agencies in 2015/2016
- 21 released in exchange for cash in 2016
- 82 released in exchange for terrorists in 2017
- 163 is total number of Chibok girls released so far as at May 6, 2017
- 111 of the girls are still in captivity