The Nigerian Presidency spokesman said Tuesday that one of the high school girls had “said no”: “I am good where I am, I am married”.
One of the 200 Nigerian high school girls from Chibok abducted by Boko Haram refused to be released in an exchange of prisoners with the Nigerian jihadist group, declaring that she was “well” and “married”, spokesman Presidency, Garba Shehu.
The latter had announced several weeks ago that talks with the jihadist group were underway on the release of 83 girls. Finally, only 82 were released. The Presidency spokesman said on Tuesday that one of the high school girls had said “no”: “I am good where I am, I am married”.
Prior to the release – 21 of them were exchanged in October 2016, 3 were found by the army and 57 escaped – 113 girls are still retained by the jihadist group. These teenage girls are among the 276 girls abducted in their high school in Chibok (northeast) by the jihadist group in 2014, arousing a wave of international outrage. Boko Haram, which uses mass kidnappings as a form of recruitment, has kidnapped tens of thousands of people, which the Nigerian army releases as they incursion into territories. The government and the army verify their identity before handing them over to their families. The suspicion is generally very strong in the communities to know their degree of sympathy and affiliation to the jihadist group. Anyone who has lived in villages held by Boko Haram, or kidnapped by the group, must carry out “screenings” by the army for random periods and sometimes for several months. Mr. Shehu assured that if the high school girls still had not joined their family, it is because the authorities wanted to be certain of their identity. “These young girls do not all come from the town of Chibok, but also from the surrounding villages,” the spokesman for the Nigerian presidency said. “The names have been published, but because of some similarity of names, we prefer to ensure their identity by showing the photos to the families,” Shehu added. “We do not want to create confusion.” Amnesty International on Sunday urged the Nigerian authorities to provide adequate psychological support to the liberated students and not to extend the traditional military investigation to assess their allegiance to the jihadist group. In early April, UNICEF also denounced the detention of hundreds of children by the army, which interrogates them about Boko Haram and their alleged membership in the jihadist organization.
Source : AFP