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CHIBOK GIRLS | Boko Haram’s Division hindering Our Efforts – Lai Mohammed

by on September 17, 2016
 
The Federal Gov­ernment yesterday explained why the abducted Chibok girls have not been released, blaming it on distrust and division within the Boko Haram terrorist sect.
Information Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed who made the disclo­sure in Abuja absolved the nation’s security agencies of thwarting the efforts by declaring Hajia Amina Wakil and Alhaji Ahmed Salkida, two persons who had assisted government to make contact with Boko Haram leaders, wanted.
Insisting that govern­ment was fully com­mitted to rescuing the Chibok girls, he in­formed parents of the abducted school chil­dren, Bring Back Our Girls group and Nigeri­ans generally that gov­ernment fully appreci­ates their concern and that government was with them.
According to Mo­hammed, “The Govern­ment and its security agencies remain com­mitted to ensuring that the Chibok girls are safely released in fulfill­ment of the presidential mandate.
“I appeal to the par­ents and relatives of the Chibok girls. We are with you; we feel your pains and shall not re­lent until we succeed in bringing home our girls and other citizens abducted by the group. It is important to ap­peal to all those who have shown concern in resolving this matter to continue to trust the ef­forts of government to deal with the situation.
He explained that it was in furtherance to this commitment that the DSS established a Special Tactical Unit to secure the release of the Chibok girls, but in the process, it was “ob­served that several per­sons or groups posing as negotiators actually had no veritable intelligence nor the reach to facili­tate the release of the Chibok girls.
He said:“Some informants or persons volunteering to be negotiators or facili­tators saw and treated the girls’ fate and in­deed the situation as a conduit to enrich them­selves, thus making the whole thing a pecuniary venture.
“As a result of the conflicting and partisan interests, issues were muddled up to the ex­tent that reasonable and fruitful leads either failed or simply came too late for any useful action”.
According to the Minister, “the situation forced government to identify those with rel­evant intelligence on the groups holding the girls, as well as estab­lish sources of contact in touch with the group, but the exercise was found not to be an easy task.
“On those holding the Chibok girls, there was also a high level of mis­trust, as they too found many approaches or groups claiming to be in touch with them as false or unreliable.
“In this new bid, many offers ranging from credible, not cred­ible to outright off-mark information came to the government. Some in­ternational bodies and countries also provided leads. It was out of this that relevant security agencies were able to strike a chord”.
He added that even on 17th July, 2015, when the DSS opened nego­tiations with the group holding the Chibok girls, the group demanded the release of some of their arrested fighters includ­ing some involved in major terrorist actions, and others who were ex­perts in the manufacture of locally assembled ex­plosives.
“This was difficult to accept, but appropriate security agencies had to again inform Mr. Presi­dent of these demands, and its implications. Again Mr. President gave his assent believing that the overall release of these girls remains paramount and sacro­sanct”.
He stated that even after working out the logistic details for the swap and making ar­rangement for the vehi­cles and aircraft, as well as extracting assurances that the swap would commence on 1st Au­gust, 2015, “the group, just at the dying mo­ments, issued new set of demands, never bar­gained for or discussed by the group before the movement to Maidu­guri.
“All this while, the se­curity agencies waited patiently. This develop­ment stalled what would have been the first re­lease process of the Chibok girls.
“It may be important to note that in spite of this setback, the govern­ment and the security agencies have not relent­ed in the bid to ensure that the Chibok girls are released safely.
“Some critical persons within the group who played such vital role in August, 2015 were dis­covered to be dead dur­ing combat action or as a result of the emerging rift amongst members of the group then. These two factors delayed the process. In spite of these, negotiation continued on new modalities.
‘By 30th November, 2015 it was becoming glaring that the division amongst the group was more profound. This af­fected the swap process.
‘By 10th December, 2015, another nego­tiation process was in place, but this failed to achieve results because of the varying demands by the group.
In spite of the cur­rent division amongst members of the terror­ist group, which has seriously affected ef­forts to release the girls, renewed efforts have commenced using our trusted assets and facili­tators”.
He called on Nigeri­ans to be patient as tak­ing any untoward step could jeopardize the lives of the girls.
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