Chibok Girls: FG’s Swap Deal With Boko Haram and How It Failed
UK based newspaper, UK Telegraph had reported a few days ago that the Red Cross were in secret prisoner wwap deal with Boko Haram and the Nigerian government to Free Chibok girls kidnapped in April.
CNN, quoting a source involved in the negotiations, said officials met four times in mid-August with two senior members of Boko Haram in Abuja.
The swap would involve the release of 30 Boko Haram commanders in the custody of government, according to the source, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue.
Boko Haram reportedly submitted a list with the names of 30 members who were either convicted or awaiting trial on terror offenses.
“The two Boko Haram negotiators assured the ICRC and government negotiators that the girls were never raped, were never used as sex slaves and were never sexually assaulted,” said the source.
But this claim is disputed by Davis. According to Davis, who visited Nigeria to mediate the release of the Chibok girls captured by the Islamist group, “the girls tell how they were raped every day, week after week. One girl was raped every day, sometimes several times a day by groups of men. Some did not survive the ordeal.”
The terror group was said to have expressed a willingness for a swap with the ICRC at an undisclosed location, according to the source. But there was disagreement on some terms, including the number of girls involved in the swap.
Boko Haram, it was learnt, insisted on an even swap — 30 girls for 30 commanders — but the government refused.
“They were only ready to release one to one, which the government was not going to accept,” the source said.
Another hurdle in the talks was Boko Haram’s insistence on meeting the imprisoned 30 members involved in the swap, but they only had contact with six at a prison outside Abuja, the source said.
But the ICRC and prison authorities were unable to match the names on the Boko Haram list to prisoners held in any jails. He said was possible that this was because the names were simply wrong or inaccurate, but that the group had inferred that the government was trying to hold some prisoners back, and had therefore refused to release all the girls at once.
The six prisoners among the 30 on the list of Boko haran included Kabiru Sokoto, a senior Boko Haram commander convicted in December 2013 of terror charges related to the deadly Christmas Day bombing of a church in Madallah in 2011.
“ICRC couldn’t find where the remaining 24 were being detained,” the source said.
The Boko Haram negotiators said they would get back to government after consulting with their superiors.
A spokesman for the ICRC in Geneva would neither confirm nor deny its involvement in the talks, but said it was willing to help “in facilitating the transfer of people back to families if necessary”.
He added: “We have a dialogue with all the different parties, and if there is any way we can help as a neutral humanitarian organisation, we will.”
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