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Published On: Wed, Sep 24th, 2014

Military Makes ‘U Turn’ Retract Statement on Release of Chibok Girls

LAGOS SEPTEMBER 24TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Nigeria’s military has retracted its statement that some of the schoolgirls abducted from Chibok town in April by Islamist militants had been freed.
Two Toyota Hiace buses loaded with the girls were driven into Maimalari Barracks, the headquarters of the 7th Division of the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri, this evening.

Earlier reports suggested an uncertain number of the Chibok girls Abducted by Boko Haram insurgents in April this year have been released. When contacted, Defence Spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade, confirmed the release.
But Major General Chris Olukolade later told the BBC there were girls in military custody, but not those from Chibok as originally thought.
He said the exercise was still ongoing and assured that appropriate statement would be made as at when due.
It is still unclear whether there is a deal that may led to the release, especially as exiled Nigerian Journalist in the UAE casted a doubt on the widely spread media perception that the FG was engaged in a swap deal.
Salkida had yesterday tweeted that there are no negotiations whatsoever going on between the Boko Haram sect and the Nigerian government with particular reference to the International Committee on Red Crescent (Red Cross).
“Mark my words: There is NO negotiation either by the @ICRC or any negotiator on the release of #chibokgirls with #BH Shura as I write this,” he had said.
Although the Nation had reported about two days ago that Boko Haram were set to release 219 of the Abducted girls in exchange for the release of 18 key sect members. The deal was reported to have been brokered by the International Committee on Red Crescent (Red Cross) of which Salkida asserted that there was no such thing.
The over 200 girls, mostly mostly in their teens, were kidnapped from their secondary school in Chibok, Borno State, on April 14. It caused worldwide outrage and sparked a social media campaign.
Protests were organised under the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, calling on the authorities to do more to free the girls, who had gone to the school in Chibok from surrounding areas to take their final year exams.
Shortly after the abduction, Boko Haram released a video showing more than 100 of them and offering an exchange for prisoners.
In recent days there have been unconfirmed reports that the Nigerian government has been negotiating a deal with Boko Haram to exchange the abducted girls for imprisoned Islamist fighters.
Since a state of emergency was declared in May 2013 in the north-east to end Boko Haram’s insurgency, the group’s attacks have increased.
Many women and children – including teenage girls – have been taken hostage since then.
Earlier, Gen Olukolade told the BBC there was an ongoing exercise to release the schoolgirls taken from Chibok and that some of them were safe in a military barracks.
But he later called back to retract his statement, saying the authorities were trying to confirm the identities of the girls who are in the custody of the army, but they did not come from Chibok.

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