How Boko Haram Freed 21 Abducted Chibok Schoolgirls   

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Chibok Girls

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Nigerians react differently to the news of the release of 21 kidnapped Chibok school girls as the federal government continues negotiation with the Boko Haram terrorists to free others in their custody

|  By Maureen Chigbo  |

BOKO HARAM terrorists in the North Eastern part of Nigeria on October 13, put a smile on the faces of Nigerians as they released 21 kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls to the Nigerian government. This followed a prisoner swap brokered by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Nigerian and Swiss governments.

Confirming, Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president on Media and Publicity, said, in a statement issued on Thursday, October 13, that: “the missing Chibok girls have been released and are in the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS.”

Lawal Daura, director-general of the DSS, had briefed President Muhammadu Buhari of the development shortly before the President left for Germany. He added that Daura wanted the girls, who were very tired, to rest before he would hand them over to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.

Realnews learnt the girls were exchanged for four Boko Haram prisoners in Banki, northeast Nigeria.

According to Vanguard, “The girls were brought to Kumshe, which is 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Banki where a military base is stationed, in ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) vehicles. The four Boko Haram militants were brought to Banki from Maiduguri in a military helicopter from where they were driven to Kumshe in ICRC vehicles.”

From Kumshe, the Chibok girls were taken by helicopter to Maiduguri, the capital of northeast Borno state.

“The 21 (Chibok) girls arrived (in) Banki around 3:00 am (0200 GMT) where they found a military helicopter waiting. They were immediately ushered into the helicopter and flown to Maiduguri.” another source said.

Following the release, some Nigerians have displayed cautious excitement while others are happy praying for the release of the remaining girls.

The Bring Back Our Girls campaigner Aisha Yesufu was quoted by Vanguard as saying “We cannot confirm anything yet”, not their identity.

Frank Odita, a security analyst and chief executive of Frankcon Limited, told Realnews on telephone that the news “is a healthy development”.

“I don’t have the details. If the girls are released that is good development if they are still girls and have not been violated and turned into women. It confirms that the girls are there. It will give an insight. After how many years we are able to pick up 21 girls. Are they Chibok girls or Chibok women? Obviously, they have been violated given that the last one they rescued came back with a child and husband. This is sad. It is good they have returned to rejoin their parents. It will give the parents some peace. It will be better if they are still Chibok girls. It is cheering news for the parents of the girls,” Odita said.

For Monday Ubani, former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja Branch, Lagos, the release of the girls shows that this set of Boko Haram sect is genuine. And this is very good news for us as a nation. Since we have established the fact that this is a genuine source, the federal government should go ahead and ensure that the remaining girls are released.

“I am happy that the government has fulfilled their own part of the bargain and every Nigerian should appreciate what it has done,” he said.

More than 276 girls were kidnapped from the Government Girls’ College in Chibok in Borno State, northeast Nigeria, in April 14, 2014, by Boko Haram insurgents as part of their fight to establish a fundamentalist Islamic state in the region.

— Oct 13, 2016 @ 2:11 GMT

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