Boko Haram, the insurgent group operating mainly from the north eastern Nigeria, has set free some school girls they kidnapped from Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State.
The insurgents released 105 of the 110 abducted girls and one boy in the early hours of today, in Dapchi, asking the girls to go home to their parents, rather than going to the military base in Dapchi so that the military would not take credit for their release.
Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, confirmed the release of the 105 girls and one boy.
Mohammed remarked that “For the release to work, the government had a clear understanding that violence and confrontation would not be the way out as it could endanger the lives of the girls, hence a non-violent approach was the preferred option.
“Within the period when the girls were being brought back, (an) operational pause was observed in certain areas to ensure free passage and also that lives were not lost.”
It was also confirmed that five girls died in captivity, while one is still being held on account of her refusal to repudiate her Christian faith and accept Islam as her new religion.
One of the released girls, Aisha Alhaji Deri, 16, informed journalists that they were not abused while in Boko Haram captivity.
Aisha said “They brought us back this morning, dropped us outside the motor park and said we should all go home and not go to the military because they (military) will claim to have rescued us.”
She disclosed that five girls died in captivity either due to trauma or shock. The dead girls were given a mass burial, it was learnt.
The released girls and one boy are expected to arrive Abuja today from Maiduguri, Borno State, as they have all been documented by security personnel.
While playing host to the then United States secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, President Muhammad Buhari had said his government had not secured the release of the Dapchi girls because they did not want to use force. He said the objective was to ensure that the girls were released alive.
Shortly after the release of the girls around 3.00am today, the Presidency dispatched Minister for Information and Culture, Minister OF Interior, Minister of Defence and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs to Maiduguri to receive the girls.
A total of 110 school girls from GGSTC were confirmed abducted by Boko Haram insurgents on February 19, 2018, with security personnel who had hitherto guarded the school, conspicuously absent. The girls spent some 29 days in captivity.
Minister of Information and Culture said no ransom or swap deal was made to secure the release of the girls. He was silent on whether efforts were on to secure the release of the only Dapchi school girl who is still held captive because she refused to denounce her Christian faith.