Boko Haram to release Chibok girls in batches

Posted by News Express | 22 October 2014 | 3,015 times

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As part of implementation of the ceasefire agreement between the Federal Government and members of the Boko Haram sect, the insurgents have agreed to release the over 200 abducted schoolgirls in batches.

The first phase will involve release of 70 of the girls to Chadian President, Idriss Deby, who is brokering truce between the Federal Government and the insurgents.

Nigerian Pilot learnt that the decision to free the girls in phases was based on the explanation of the insurgents that the female students of Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, whom they abducted on April 14, 2014, were split into several groups and scattered in some parts of the West African sub-region.

Official sources hinted that the ongoing talks between the insurgents and Nigerian officials in N’Djamena, Chad, were expected to end yesterday and the outcome would be out within the week.

Sources however said the terrorists were skeptical that releasing all the girls at once might be dangerous for them in the event of the Federal Government not keeping its part of the bargain.

“By releasing the first batch of 70 girls, the insurgents want to watch how the rest of the bargain would go. This was also the height of negotiation and the most difficult part because both sides are looking for the way forward. The first demand by Nigeria is that all the abducted girls be released but the insurgents agreed to release the girls in batches because they are scattered all over West Africa. They had been divided into groups in order to shield them from rescue by the Nigerian security forces,” the source explained.

It was further gathered that apart from the presidential pardon sought by the insurgents, they also demanded unconditional release of their jailed leaders, as well as their wives and children, who were held for channeling funds to them, aiding suicide bombing, transporting bomb-making materials and recruiting members for them.

Agency reports revealed that the negotiations took place for weeks in N’Djamena with several deadlocks over demands by the insurgents, who insisted that they must not be put on trial for the atrocities committed against Nigerians.

President Deby, according to the reports, was at the centre of the negotiation, which started last July, when the sect wrote him a letter to broker a ceasefire deal with the Federal Government.

The report quoted a government official as saying: “Deby passed the letters to his security agencies to authenticate and give him feedback in order to determine if they were genuine or fake. The agencies were said to have rechecked with global intelligence bodies, who are familiar with the internal workings of the insurgents.”

An online news medium, TheCable, added that, “On confirming that the letters were genuine, Deby setup a meeting with Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan during the ICT Conference in N’Djamena. On September 9, Deby and Jonathan met behind closed doors, where he (Deby) briefed Jonathan of the development.”

President Jonathan allegedly told his Chadian counterpart that he was not opposed to any negotiation as he had made it clear in the past that whoever was willing to come forward for dialogue would be received with open hands.

“On getting President Jonathan’s green light, Deby directed his intelligence chief to put together a team to negotiate with the insurgents. Jonathan on his part, nominated his principal private secretary, Hassan Tukur, and a top security chief to represent Nigeria”, the source revealed.

•Source: Nigerian Pilot. Photo shows some of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls as appeared in a Boko Haram video.

Source: News Express

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