NAF Airlifts Dapchi Girls to Maidiguri

26 March, 2018, 01:48 | Author: Yolanda Murray
  • Aishat Alhaji, one of the kidnapped girls from the Government Girls Science and Technical College Dapchi who was freed

"They told her to convert to Muslim and she told them that she would not convert to Muslim, hence she's the only Christian among them", Leah's father, Nathan Sharibu, told VOA.

Yobe Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam, represented by the state commissioner for information Alhaji Mala Musty, commended President Buhari for securing the release of the girls. Earlier this week, Boko Haram returned almost all of the girls, with the exception of five who died along the way to Dapchi, and Leah.

The schoolgirls were kidnapped on 19 February and released this week.

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The mass abduction from the girls' school was an apparent copycat of the 2014 abduction of 270 girls from the town of Chibok. Four of the abducted had broken limbs and all of them had skin infections of some kind, he said. It was not military action that freed the girls but secret negotiations mediated by local and global mediators, though military pressure on Boko Haram must have played a role too. However she urged the Buhari administration to improve and tighten security at all schools in northeast Nigeria which have suffered extremist violence during Boko Haram's almost 10-year insurgency.

When Boko Haram returned the Dapchi girls on Wednesday, Leah's mother fainted when she realized her daughter was not among them.

They were held there for several hours and then taken to Abuja, where on Friday they were to meet the president, Muhammadu Buhari, in his villa, surrounded by cameras, as he declared their release "cheery and hearty".

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"As I said earlier, the insurgents made a decision to return the girls to where they picked them from as a goodwill gesture".

While some of the Chibok girls have been freed in exchange for ransom and the release of top Boko Haram commanders, a total of 112 remain in captivity. "What is the strategy behind declaring amnesty for terrorists and releasing those in custody and allowing them to go back to what they were doing?"

The girls were not all kept at one place, he said, complicating the situation.

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And it was an elated President who addressed the girls and the nation pledging his government's determination to avoid a repeat of this whole incident.

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