Boko Haram Releases Over 100 Abducted Nigerian Schoolgirls

Frederick Owens
March 22, 2018

The kidnapping on February 19 of the girls aged 11-19, was the biggest mass abduction since Boko Haram took more than 270 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in 2014 - a case that triggered global outrage.

The Minister said the girls were released around 3 a.m. through back-channel efforts and with the help of some friends of the country, and that it was unconditional.

Boko Haram has returned most of the schoolgirls they kidnapped last month to the village they took them from, according to relatives of the girls.

"The only condition [the kidnappers] gave us is [they would not] release [the girls] to the military but release them in the town of Dapchi without the military presence", news agency Reuters quoted Information Minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

Many said the Dapchi abduction and partial releases raise much bigger issues of how the government is taking on Boko Haram. Defeated, frustrated, bankrupt and hungry, Boko Haram is looking for ways of embarrassing FG, sourcing for food and ransom money.

The spokesman added that government would ultimately rehabilitate and reunite the girls with their families and loved ones when they were eventually rescued.

But a security analyst is anxious abduction may become an industry in Nigeria following government's approach of negotiating the release of abductees. Boko Haram is a splintered terrorist organization that is rife with internal struggles between several warring factions.

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He noted that, "The Dapchi abduction must be the catalyst for the government to ensure adequate protection of all schools in northeast Nigeria so that this can never happen again".

There were no immediate details from the government or from Boko Haram on why the girls were taken.

"What happened is a lesson for us".

The speaker said intelligence gathering must be strengthened to prevent attacks before they occur.

"All Buhari said was that the insurgents have been weakened, but they can still pose a threat". It happened with the recent abduction of Maiduguri staff that were on an exploration.

The Bring Back Our Girls group that attracted global recognition in the wake of the Chibok girls' abduction expressed shock and disappointment over the government's failures at Dapchi. Instead, the Boko Haram insurgents were granted unopposed access to parade themselves as heroes within Dapchi.

Those schoolgirls and one boy were among those returned early Wednesday, the minister said.

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