No swap deal with Boko Haram over 21 Chibok girls – FG

No swap deal with Boko Haram over 21 Chibok girls – FG
October 13 22:12 2016

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said that the Thursday release of 21 Chibok school girls was not the result of any swap deal with their Boko Haram sect.

“Please note that this is not a swap. It is a release, the product of painstaking negotiations and trust on both sides,” Lai Mohammed told reporters in Abuja.

“As soon as the necessary confidence was built on both sides, the parties agreed on the date and the location of the release of the 21 girls,” he added.

The government would continue to pursue the release of the remaining girls, he said, adding that those freed would receive medical attention and care.

“We see this as a credible first step in the eventual release of all the Chibok girls in captivity. It is also a major step in confidence-building between us as a government and the Boko Haram leadership on the issue of the Chibok girls,” he said.

Mohammed said the government would release the names of the girls after contacting their parents and verifying their identities.

The Federal Government announced last month that it had opened negotiations with Boko Haram to secure the release of the abducted girls — but revealed that the talks were derailed due to a divisions in the jihadist group.

Previous efforts to negotiate with the group also failed.

Boko Haram had insisted the girls would only be released in exchange for its members being held in government custody.

In April 2014, 276 girls were seized from their accommodation in the northeast town of Chibok as part of Boko Haram’s campaign to establish an Islamist state in the region.