BOKO HARAM: Months in captivity over as UNIMAID lecturers, police wives regain freedom

Boko Haram has released three University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) lecturers and the 10 women abducted from a police convoy in Borno State, months after.

While the lecturers were abducted in November in the Magumeri area of Borno State during oil exploration work, the women have been in captivity since June.

According to Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, the victims were set free following a negotiation with the sect.

However, he refused to disclose details of the negotiation. But a statement released by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) revealed their role in facilitating the release as an intermediary.

Shehu said President Muhamamdu Buhari expressed delight at the development during a briefing by the Department of State Services (DSS).

The presidential spokesman said the DSS disclosed that all the 13 rescued persons were in the custody of the service and were on their way to Abuja with the assistance of the Nigerian Army and the air force.

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“In expectation of their being brought to the DSS headquarters, he said a team of doctors and psychologists has been placed on standby,” he said in a statement.

“The rescued persons may be presented to the president and thereafter released to their families, if there are no issues of security or medical concerns.

“The President, who got step by step progress reports on the lengthy negotiations while they took place, received the good news with a lot of happiness.

“He commended all those who in one way or the other helped in making the release possible.

“He then urged the DSS and the Nigerian Army to intensify efforts to bring home the remaining Chibok Girls still in the custody of the terrorists.

“The Director-General of the DSS, Lawal Daura, assured the President that they were working hard to bring home the remaining girls and, as soon as possible, bring the Chibok girls saga to an end.”

The ICRC statement which quotes Patrick Youssef, deputy regional director for Africa, reads, “The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today facilitated the handover — from the armed opposition to the Nigerian military — of 10 women police officers and three university professors.

“This operation in north-east Nigeria, with the ICRC acting as a neutral intermediary, was carried out at the request of the parties to the ongoing armed conflict.

“We are so pleased that these 13 people are free and will be able to see their families again.

“The ICRC was not involved in any negotiations that led to the handover of the 13 people. The armed opposition handed the 13 people over to ICRC representatives who transported them to Nigerian authorities. This action was similar to what the ICRC did in October 2016 and May 2017, when we transported the released “Chibok girls” to Nigerian officials.

“There are many people missing or being held against their will due to the conflict.

“This creates untold trauma and suffering, including for families across the Lake Chad region who must live with the daily uncertainty and anguish of not knowing the fate or whereabouts of their loved ones. We hope that these people, too, will get to return to their families soon.

“The ICRC remains ready to provide similar humanitarian services in the future when asked by relevant parties to the conflict”.


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Author: Editor