Names of 21 Released Chibok Girls

The Federal Government of Nigeria has confirmed the release of 21 of the missing Chibok girls by Boko Haram insurgents.

The released girls were among the over 200 schoolgirls, who were kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists from the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, on April 14, 2014.

Most of the girls wept profusely when Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo met them on Thursday in Abuja.

The 21 girls were released after 913 days in captivity.

A statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, stated that the girls were in the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS.

The statement added that the Director-General of the DSS, Malam Lawal Daura had briefed President Muhammadu Buhari on the matter.

Shehu revealed that the release of the girls, in a limited number, was the outcome of negotiations between the administration and Boko Haram, brokered by the International Red Cross and the Swiss government.

“The negotiations will continue”, the federal government added.

The Information Minister, Mr. Lai Mohammed, however disclosed that there was no swap deal with Boko Haram insurgents in the negotiation for the release of 21 Chibok girls.

The Minister who made the disclosure Thursday at a Press Conference in Abuja also said that government has assembled doctors,  nurses and paramedics to be with the girls for rehabilitation.

“Medicals are being arranged for them,” he said.

However, there were strong indications on Thursday that the Federal Government freed some top Boko Haram commanders for the 21 Chibok girls, who were released by the insurgents at Banki, a border town between Nigeria and Cameroon.

A security source said five Boko Haram commanders were released in exchange for the 21 Chibok girls.

The source stated, “Five top commanders of the Boko Haram were traded for the released Chibok girls.

“Those released are not among those earlier released by the military in the North-East on October 1, 2016. These ones are confirmed Boko Haram commanders, who have been in the custody of the DSS.”

The source, who spoke to our correspondent on Thursday, said the 21 girls were discovered by troops of the 21 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, which supervises the military units in Banki, Borno State, while they were filing out of the forest.

“I think it was a planned operation which involved the DSS. The released Boko Haram commanders were not in the custody of the military,” the source added.

The source explained that the insurgents released the girls and left them to wander into an area where they could be sighted by people and security personnel in the area.

“The girls were released in the forest at Banki. Obviously, the abductors took them close to where they could be sighted and gave them direction and left them,” he stated.

It was learnt that the Nigerian Air Force Mi 17 Hercules helicopters were deployed in the area to airlift them out of the operational area to freedom.

The helicopter “has capacity to airlift 15 people without difficulty.”


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