Ahmed Salkida, a Nigerian journalist who has reported extensively on the Boko Haram insurgency has revealed that only 15 of the remaining 113 Chibok girls still in captivity are alive.
Salkida stated this in a series of tweets on his twitter account on Saturday while explaining the present circimstances surrounding the whereabout of the girls.
According to him, many of the girls “died as a result of cross fires and bombardments of the security forces that no doubt were intent on rescuing them.”
He said the remaining ones are no longer under the control of the factional leader of the Boko Haram insurgents group, Abubakar Shekau, but has been married off to some of the leaders of the sect.
More than 270 girls were kidnapped by the group from a school in the north-eastern town of Chibok. In September 2017, a group of more than 100 were reunited with their families at a party in the capital Abuja.
A separate group of 21 girls were freed in October 2016 after negotiations with Boko Haram.
More than 50 managed to escape on the day they were captured, mostly by jumping off lorries and running off into the bushes.
Narrating how the girls were abducted from their school and the failed efforrs by the Jonathan govt to rescue them, Salkida said only the husbands the girls are married to can decide their fate.
“Four years ago, a middle ranking BH commander led dozens of fighters in search of food and other supplies in the remote town of Chibok, like an afterthought, they saw a chance to abduct school girls in GSS Chibok, the girls at the time were preparing for their exams.”
“The dozens of BH fighters faced no opposition during the abductn, as they struggled to convey their captives to the forest of Alagarno, the insurgent’s first war capital, which they named Timbuktu. It was in Timbuktu that they organised most of the horror we experience today.”
“Some of the girls were lucky to have escaped on their way to Timbuktu that night, because there were fewer fighters to hold more than 200 girls. At the beginning, the group didn’t know what to do with the girls, at least, not in the first one month of their captivity.”
He said the Jonathan government got in touch with him two weeks after the abduction to help negotiate the release of the girls, but lacked the political will to see it through.
“However, what many people did not know was that two weeks into the abduction, the Jonathan administration was already in touch with me for the peaceful release of the girls. By the way, I was in self-exile after pressure from the same Govt.”
“I took an excuse where I was doing a menial job in the UAE (but still reporting the insurgency), to see the president, which was facilitated by Aliyu Gebi and Labaran Maku. By the 3rd of May, I was already on my way from Abuja to Madagali, Marwa and finally to a BH camp.”
“I got a proof of life for the president and another for the media in case I didn’t get back. The demands of BH then were simple, they wanted detained members taken to Damaturu and they will move the girls to Buniyardi for swap somewhere in between. There was no word on ransom.”
“I was provided with full military escorts frm Abj to Damaturu, Govt was supposed to make sure that 70 detainees were ready on my arrival in Damaturu to meet 30 there. The rest of the negotiating team was in Abj making sure the prisoners were on a plane before my arrival…”
“On arrival in Damaturu, the military commander there was not briefed about my work. He was merely told to expect a VIP? At that time, the girls have been moved by BH, but there was no prisoners for exchange and I got a call from the former CDS to abort the operation.”
“The president later said before me that he did not call off the swap. There was a credible window, but zero Will to rescue the girls. BH were angry. I returned to the UAE to continue my hustle, but received invitatns not only by the former administratn, but the current govt.”
“4 out of 5 process that I was involved in, we came close to a swap deal, but Govt in most instances did not provide the platform I presented with the required expertise. And whenever Govt dragged its feet, Shekau will shift the goal post.”
On the status of the remaining girls aftwr the Buhari govt had suceeded in rescuing about half of them in captivity, Salkida said only about 15 of them are still alive and cannot be rescued under a peace settlements unles their husband to whom they have beem married aceept to give them up.
“I regret to state here that only 15 out of the 113 #Chibokgirls are alive today, based on my investigations in the last 3 months and we have already seen some of them in a video, which I exclusively obtained and was published on SR website.”
“What is the status of the remaining 15 girls as far as negotiations are concerned? My investigations also revealed that, they are no longer under the control of #AbubakarShekau. According to sources, they are now ‘married’ and only their ‘husbands’ can decide their fates.”
“If they are divorced or the men are killed that is when Shekau’s decision takes precedence, and in this instance, since the girls have been indoctrinated, their leader has no right to negotiate for their release, no matter the ransom offered, reliable multiple sources said.”
Salkida said it will be unbearable to share the names of rhe remaining 15 girls, stating that it is the responsibility of government.