LAGOS, Nigeria — 21 of the schoolgirls abducted in April 2014 by Boko Haram in northeast town of Chibok, Borno State, have been released on October 13, 2016.
Confirming this to men of the press at Abuja today during a World Press Conference, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated: “We can confirm that 21 of the girls were released, safely, to us by 5:30am this Thursday morning and they were flown to Kaduna from the location of their release. This is the most glaring manifestation to date of the unwavering commitment of Mr. President to secure the safe release of the girls and reunite them with their families. It is also the result of a round-the-clock effort by the Administration to put a closure to the sad issue of the kidnap of the girls.”
He further added: “We expect the released girls to land in Abuja shortly. Ahead of their arrival, we have assembled a team of medical doctors, psychologists, social workers, trauma experts, etc to properly examine the girls, especially because they have been in captivity for so long. They will also be adequately debriefed. We have the list of the 21 girls but we are now contacting their parents as part of the necessary verification exercise. As soon as that is concluded, we will release the names to the public.”
Effort to secure release of the girls who were held captive since April 2014 was made possible via collaboration of Department of States Services (DSS), an undisclosed European country, and a renowned international humanitarian organisation.
Expressing delight at the recovery of these girls, a prominent advocacy group for their release, Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) in its latest statement signed by two of its leading figures, former Minister of Education, Obiageli Ezekwesili and activist Aisha Yesufu, said: “We welcome the negotiated release of 21 of our abducted #ChibokGirls today. This wonderful development confirms what we have always known about the capacity of our goverment to rescue our #ChibokGirls.”
The girls were dropped at the border town of Banki in Borno State by Boko Haram earlier this morning and airlifted to Defence Headquarters, Maiduguri, Borno State, a military source told ArmedPolitics.
(Reported by Adedayo Osho; Editing by Dejan S. & Robyn Hunter)