Some of the 21 freed Chibok girls are received at the Nigerian Vice President office in Abuja on October 13, 2016. Jihadist group Boko Haram has freed 21 of the more than 200 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped more than two years ago, raising hopes for the release of the others, officials said Thursday. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA / AFP
The Nigerian military said on Saturday they had rescued another of the missing Chibok schoolgirls near the border with Cameroon.
“Nigerian army troops rescued another Chibok schoolgirl at Pulka” on Friday evening, army spokesman Sani Usman told AFP, adding he would give details of the rescue operation later.
The girls were kidnapped from their school in Chibok town, Borno, on April 14, 2014, by Boko Haram.
The terror group on October 13 released 21 of the more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls after a deal was brokered by the International Committee of Red Cross and the Swiss government.
The Nigerian government thereafter confirmed it was negotiating with a faction of now fractured terror group for the release of about 83 of the girls.
“These 21 released girls are supposed to be talebearers to tell the Nigerian government that this faction of Boko Haram has 83 more Chibok girls,” presidential spokesman Garba Shehu, said then.
“The faction said it is ready to negotiate if the government is willing to sit down with them,” said Shehu, adding that the state is prepared to negotiate with the branch of Boko Haram.
Boko Haram apparently split when the Islamic State group appointed Abu Musab al-Barnawi as the head of Boko Haram early in August. But the erstwhile leader of the group, Abubakar Shekau,countered the appointment, insisting that he was still in charge.
It is unclear what the Federal Government did to secure the release of the 21 girls freed, but AFP quoting local sources said four Boko Haram commanders were freed.
“The four Boko Haram militants were brought to Banki from Maiduguri in a military helicopter from where they were driven to Kumshe in ICRC vehicles,” AFP reported.
But Shehu and Nigeria’s minister of information and culture Lai Mohammed insisted that the government did not release any Boko Haram prisoner.