Boko Haram frees most of abducted Dapchi schoolgirls

by Garry Watts March 22, 2018, 0:59
Boko Haram frees most of abducted Dapchi schoolgirls

A group of schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria by terror group Boko Haram were released and returned to their hometown of Dapchi, the Nigerian government announced on Wednesday.

Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu told CNN that the released girls were being taken to safety.

Information Minister Lai Mohammed said the girls were released "unconditionally".

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

Mohammed Ali said that "the girls were personally brought back by the insurgents".

He added: "As of now, the number (of girls confirmed to have been released) has increased to 101".

Her own daughter, Rifkatu, is still missing almost four years after she and over 200 of her classmates were kidnapped by Boko Haram militants from their school in Chibok about 275 km (170 miles) away.

Another townsmen said the militants told them the girls were set free "out of pity", leaving the community with a clear warning to never let them return to school.

According to him, when the girls were dropped in their school by the abductors many of them went straight home to reunite with their parents.

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"Some motors painted in military color came with our girls", he told Reuters.

Aliyu Maina, reunited with his 13-year-old daughter, said the fighters "stopped and blocked the road, they didn't talk to anybody, they didn't greet anybody".

Abdullahi who spoke in Hausa, said the five girls had died as a result of the congestion after their abduction.

Meanwhile, the Daily Trust reports that five of the abducted schoolgirls died, while one of them was still under captivity.

The Nigerian government denied that it had paid a ransom or made a prisoner swap in exchange for the girls' freedom.

He says that while in hiding, residents saw the missing girls getting out of the Boko Haram vehicles.

But it came with a warning. The military has called the report an "outright falsehood".

Amnesty International has expressed relief following the news of the release of some of the girls abducted last month at a secondary school in Dapchi, Yobe State.

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