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#DapchiGirls: How Buhari ensured release of schoolgirls through ‘back-channel’ – Lai Mohammed

22 March 2018 National World


Nearly all of the 110 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by militants in the town of Dapchi last month have been returned, the government says.

A relieved man wipes away a tear after the girls, who went missing on 19 February, arrived back in Dapchi

The Federal Government on Wednesday revealed the role President Muhammadu Buhari played in the release of the abducted schoolgirls from the Government Girls Science School in Dapchi, Yobi State.

 

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed said the “directive by the President to all security agencies to do everything possible to secure the release of the girls” abducted on February 19, 2018, “yielded fruits in the early hours of Wednesday.”

He also assured that the release of the remaining abducted students was ongoing.

He said the girls were, “released around 3am through back-channel efforts and with the help of some friends of the country, and that it was unconditional.

”Within the period when the girls were being brought back, operational pause was observed in certain areas to ensure free passage and also that lives were not lost,” Alhaji Mohammed said.

104 Dapchi schoolgirls freed – FG

Reports suggest at least five girls died during their ordeal, and that a Christian girl remains captive.
However, the Federal Government later tweeted through (@NGRPresident on twitter) to give an update of 106 of freed persons .

The BBC’s Tomi Oladipo says the government is likely to have given something in return for the girls’ release.

But Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, told Reuters that “no ransom was paid”.

Mr Lai Mohammed said the girls were taken to hospital in Dapchi, and they would be quarantined and offered psychological counselling before going back to school.

However, one parent told the BBC the extremists had warned them not to send their daughters back to school, or they would be kidnapped again.

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