Nigeria: Sunday papers filled with release of more Chibok girls by Boko Haram

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - Sunday papers in Nigeria are awash with stories on the release, on Saturday, of 82 Chibok girls from the lot abducted on 14 April, 2014, by the Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram.

The latest figure brings to 103 the number of Chibok girls released so far from the 227 that were kidnapped. Some 21 of them were freed in October 2016 while a few escaped at various times, including the night they were abducted from their dormitories.

The NATION, writing under the headline "Boko Haram frees 82 abducted Chibok Girls", with the riders 'Hostages released in Banki Town', 'Security sources confirm release' and 'BBOG: our hopes, expectations high', reported that 1,118 days after their abduction, freedom on Saturday came the way of 82 more students of the Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.

The paper said they were let go by their abductors after another lengthy round of negotiations with the federal government, seven months after the release of the first batch of the kidnapped girls.

The 82 girls were released at Banki at the Nigeria/Cameroon border and are currently in the custody of security agencies in the town.

A security source confirmed the release, saying: “more Chibok girls have regained their freedom from the insurgents. I think about 82 of them”, adding they will be flown to Maiduguri before being relocated by the military and security agencies for de-briefing and rehabilitation.

A source, speaking on the development, said: “It is difficult to tell you how the freedom was secured because it was a covert or intelligence operation. All I can say is that the latest negotiation was well-protected to avoid leaks which could jeopardize the release of the girls.

“Actually when the 21 Chibok girls were released in October 2016, another batch of 56 was expected to follow but the leakage made the insurgents to change their mind.
This time around, all the parties to the agreement strictly kept to the terms without leaks.”

The Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group which has been in the fore front of the agitation for the rescue of the girls said Friday that it was awaiting confirmation of the girls’ release.

Its spokesperson, Sesugh Akume, said: “We have been made aware of the yet-to-be-confirmed news that a number of our missing 195 Chibok girls in captivity have been released through negotiation.

“We await official confirmation from the Federal Government and a release of their names. We shall go to work to confirm the news to verify its authenticity, and communicate same to the public. Our hopes and expectations are high as we look forward to this news being true and confirmed.”

Only last month during the third anniversary of the abduction of the girls, the group came hard on the federal government for “not doing enough to rescue the girls from Boko Haram.”

It blasted President Muhammadu Buhari for allegedly failing to fulfil his election promise to get the girls out of bondage. But the president denied the allegation and declared that as a parent, “I feel what you feel.”

He said his government was in continuous negotiations through international intermediaries with the captors, vowing that his administration would do everything necessary to secure the release of the remaining Chibok girls.

In its second story, headlined "Buhari to receive freed 82 Chibok girls exchanged for Boko haram suspects", the NATION wrote that President Muhammadu Buhari is billed to receive the 82 Chibok girls released on Saturday by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.

A statement on Saturday night by the Senior Special Assistant on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, said that the girls were exchanged for some Boko Haram suspects in custody.

The PUNCH ran the story under the headline "FG swaps 82 Chibok girls with Boko Haram prisoners", quoting the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, as saying that the security agencies secured the release of 82 Chibok girls in exchange for some Boko Haram prisoners.

Shehu said President Buhari was scheduled to formally receive the freed girls in Abuja on Sunday.

“The President expressed his deep gratitude to security agencies, the military, the government of Switzerland, the Red Cross, local and international NGOs for the success of this operation.

The GUARDIAN also treated the story with the headline "82 Chibok girls exchanged for Boko Haram suspects", while the THISDAY screamed "FG Secures Release of 82 More Chibok Schoolgirls".
-0- PANA VAO/MA 7May2017

07 may 2017 08:47:26

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