Deal for the Safe Release of Abducted Girls Almost Finalised – Report
As Nigerians continue to lament in pains hoping that the female students of Government Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State kidnapped by members of the Boko Haram sect will soon return to their parent safe and sound, a U.K based media organization, Channel 4, has reported on Tuesday that a hostage negotiator, who is in direct contact with the kidnappers, disclosed that a deal for the safe release of the girls is being finalized.
“The girls, we believe, are alive but they have been moved from the location to which they were originally taken,” the negotiator, who was not named, reportedly said.
“It would not be hard to engineer a deal. It looks like they want to release them. They want a way out,” he added.
In their report, the tv station stated that it had established that the school girls are no longer being held in Boko Haram’s bush camps inside the Sambisa forest.
“Instead, the hostages have, we understand, been split into smaller separate groups, a number of whom have been taken close to – or across – Nigeria’s eastern border with Cameroon. This is an area from which Mohammed Nur, one of Boko Haram’s leading commanders is known to operate,” the report added.
“They have a problem,” the intermediary said. “They have 220 captives and moving that many around cannot remain hidden. There is good, reliable, local knowledge as to their location. The military knows where they are.”
The report said the kidnappers however warned, that attempts by the military to launch a rescue attempt “may result in the deaths of many of the captives”.
Splinter factions within the fractious group are understood to be arguing over what to do with their hostages. “The danger now is that the military will get involved and that can only end badly,” he said.
The hostage-takers have now been asked for a list of the girls’ names as proof-of-life. The negotiator – who wanted to remain anonymous for reasons of personal security – said the group is demanding a ransom but added: “we are hoping they will soften their stance”.
Meanwhile, the military has urged Nigerians to pray for a successful outcome in their efforts to free the remaining 230 girls abducted from Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.
About 273 girls were abducted from their school two weeks ago, out of which about 43 had escaped from the captors unharmed and have reunited with their families.
Chris Olukolade, the military spokesperson, while responding to a newspaper enquiry, Wednesday, on claims that a deal is “within reach” in the release of the girls, said that the military are doing their best to rescue the students.
“The concern & anxiety from all quarters is quite understandable,” Mr. Olukolade, a Major General, said in a text message response.
“Please be assured that much as the forces may not disclose details of action being taken to secure the freedom of the girls, every information received on the subject is duly analysed & acted upon as necessary.
“No information is being ignored in the concerted effort to ensure the safety & freedom of the girls. Just pray for the successful outcome of all the efforts please,” he added.
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