Some Abducted Chibok Schoolgirls Refused To Be ‘Freed’ – Negotiator

Channels Television  
Updated May 9, 2017

Health Minister Meets With Freed Chibok GirlsSome of the Chibok schoolgirls held captive for three years by Boko Haram refused to be part of the group of 82 girls freed over the weekend, a mediator involved in the release said on Monday (May 8).

The Islamist militants on Saturday (May 6) released 82 schoolgirls out of more than 200 whom they kidnapped in April 2014 from northeast Nigeria in exchange for prisoners.

Mediator and lawyer Zannah Mustapha said some of the abducted girls had refused to go home, fueling fears that they have been radicalised by the jihadists, and may feel afraid, ashamed or even too powerful to return to their old lives.

“When we went in, they came with 22, was it that they want to give us two? There is one lady called Saraya Paul, she was part of the 22 that they brought, but they gave us 21. Ironically, this formed part of the 83, but Saraya Paul when we went this time around we were told she’s married.”

“In humanitarian aspect we are only talking of life saving, we are able to save more than 100 lives now. So are we to continue? If we are to continuing, how are we going to continue? Are we going to save more lives or we will restrict ourselves to Chibok? If we restrict ourselves to Chibok then we have a time limit, we have a time frame which we will stop, but if we are talking of complete transformation it will be a sort of continuous process that everybody will come and learn or key into the process, even thereafter.”

“There are more other girls been abducted that are running into thousands that nobody has advocated for, so we need to have this one out through this process. So if you now get public transformation, cessation of hostility, stopping the suicide bombing, you have to now started attending to it, by the time you start talking to this group of people, then you should expect their many words that have been coming.”

Many women and girls abducted by Boko Haram identify with their captors, may not want to give up their new lives with their militant husbands, or feel forced to stay due to fear or shame, according to Nigerian psychologist Fatima Akilu.

It was the second group release of the Chibok girls by Boko Haram, – with both deals brokered by Switzerland and the International Red Cross – after 21 of them were released in October. A few others have escaped or been rescued, and 113 of the girls are believed to be still held in captivity by Boko Haram.

Future talks between Nigeria and Boko Haram militants will extend beyond the release of the remaining Chibok girls in captivity and focus on negotiating piece in the conflict-hit northeast, according to Mustapha.

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