FG working to secure release of 83 Chibok girls
A faction of Boko Haram is ready to negotiate with credible intermediaries for the release of about 83 Chibok girls, President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman said on Sunday.
The terror group on Thursday released 21 of the more than 200 kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls held since April 2014 in a prisoner swap deal with the Nigerian government. The deal was brokered by the International Committee of Red Cross and the Swiss government.
“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, told Reuters.
“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.
The group 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 on Thursday, 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.