The Boko Haram epidemic has been plaguing Nigeria for a while, from the Chibok girls who were kidnapped and haven’t completely returned back to their families after the government negotiated the release of a few of them with more than 100 still missing. Last month the militants struck again kidnapping 110 schoolgirls from their hometown in Dapchi, proving that they were still active and able to cause havoc. The Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari during one of his speeches on the subject described the kidnappings in Dapchi as a “national disaster” and deployed troops and surveillance aircraft in search of the missing students.
Today, a presidential aide confirmed that 101 of the schoolgirls were freed by the militants and denied any ransom was paid for their release, according to the Nigerian government the girls were simply ‘freed’ following behind-the-curtain channels, and signaled relief upon their release. The Nigerian government, who have accumulated a negative public opinion on its method of handling and shutting down the Boko Haram militant group will find this galvanizing in their mission to completely terminate their operations. One of the freed girls, in a phone conversation with a relative through BBC, said the five had been crushed to death as they were herded into vehicles and driven away.
Minster Of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed shared a statement regarding the release;
The only thing they asked for was that they should be the ones to drop them off. They didn’t want to hand them over to any third party. Nothing was given in exchange for them. 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.
A parent of one of the released girls, Bukar also shared with CNN; “We were present when they dropped them (off). Some people even went to snap photos with them.“, They apologized to the villagers he said, “Don’t take your girls to that school again if you don’t want us to kidnap them again,” Bukar quoted the militants as saying.
The released girls seemed unharmed and stated they were asked to cook their own food.