Boko Hrama frees 100 school girls: Nigeria

Back-channel efforts with Boko Haram involved ‘some friends of Nigeria’, according to Information Minister Lai Mohamed
LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – At least 104 out of the 110 schoolgirls who were abducted last month have been released by the Boko Haram militant group following “back-channel efforts involving some friends of Nigeria,” Nigeria’s government announced on Wednesday.
In a statement, Information Minister Lai Mohamed said efforts to secure the release of the remaining girls are ongoing.
“The girls were released at around 3 a.m. through back-channel efforts and with the help of some friends of the country, and it was unconditional,” he said.
“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.”
Mohamed said the girls had not been handed over to anyone but they were dropped off in the northeastern town of Dapchi, where the abduction took place.
A boy and a girl not among those captured on Feb 19 were also freed, he later added, also stressing that the government had not paid any ransom.
The girls were abducted on Feb. 19, sparking a new wave of international outrage. The abduction had come nearly four years after the Boko Haram similarly kidnapped 276 schoolgirls. At least 113 of the girls abducted in 2014 remain with their captors.
According to some local media reports, the February abduction was carried out by Boko Haram’s Abu Musab Al-Barnawi faction, while the April 2014 Chibok abductions were by its Abubakar Shekau faction.
The release of the schoolgirls came a day after Amnesty International slammed Nigeria over the abduction, claiming it had ignored early warnings.–AA

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