Stakeholders Call For ‘Proof Of Life’ After Salkida’s Claims About Remaining Chibok Girls

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FILE PHOTO: Boko Haram kidnapped over 200 schoolgirls from the Chibok Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State in April 2014.

 

Nigeria is facing calls to establish how many of the missing Chibok schoolgirls are still alive, after claims that nearly 100 of them may have lost their lives in captivity.

Parents of the missing girls and supporters gathered in the small town in remote northeast on Saturday to mark the fourth anniversary of the kidnapping that sparked world outrage.

But soon after the end of their vigil and prayers, a Nigerian journalist who has been involved in negotiations with the Islamist group said only a “handful” of the girls survive.

Ahmad Salkida wrote in a lengthy thread on Twitter that “only 15” of the 112 girls still being held were alive.

“Many of the girls have died as a result of crossfires and bombardments of the security forces that no doubt were intent on rescuing them,” he added.

The Nigerian government in response neither confirmed nor denied the claim.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, said only that Salkida’s claim was “not known” to them or anyone working on their behalf.

“The facts as known to our officials and the international contacts assisting this process are that the remaining Chibok girls are there,” he added.

“We are not relenting on getting their release.”

Grief and alarm 

A total of 276 girls were seized from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok on April 14, 2014, and 57 managed to escape in the immediate aftermath.

Since then, 107 have either been found or released as part of a government deal with the jihadists. Claims that some have died or been killed are not new.

In August 2016, Boko Haram released a video purporting to show about 50 of the students.

“Some of them have died as a result of aerial bombardment,” a masked gunman tells the camera. One of the girls then gives details about an air strike by Nigerian armed forces.

Ayuba Alamson Chibok, a community leader in the town whose cousin is among the missing, said parents and relatives were all aware of those claims.

“After the 82 girls were released (in May 2017) I spoke with some of them and they confirmed that some girls were killed in a military strike on the camp they were being held,” he told AFP.

“The released girls confirmed to me that 11 of their colleagues died in that air strike and many others were injured.”

There was “no way of knowing” if more had been killed in similar action since then, said Alamson, calling on Boko Haram to release a “proof of life” video for the remaining hostages.

The latest numbers quoted were alarming — and the authorities in Abuja should work towards finding out the situation as soon as possible, he said.

“This claim has added to the grief of parents. The government should act fast. The longer it takes to resolve this issue, the more the future of these girls is destroyed,” he added.

Human shields 

Nigeria’s military still strictly controls movements in the northeast, where the Islamist insurgency has killed at least 20,000 and made more than 2.6 million homeless since 2009.

That makes access to information difficult but two security sources with close knowledge of operations against Boko Haram said there may be some truth in the claims.

Both declined to give their names, as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

One said it was “indisputable… that some of them perished in air strikes against Boko Haram positions on at least three occasions” between February 2015 and February this year.

The air strikes targeted a Boko Haram base on the Cameroon side of the border with Nigeria; a militant camp on an island on Lake Chad; and the Sambisa Forest area of Nigeria’s Borno state.

“In all these cases Boko Haram used the girls and other hostages as human shields,” the source said.

The second source agreed with Salkida’s claim the remaining girls were now married to senior commanders in the group, which would make negotiations for their return more challenging.

In a video released on January 15, one Chibok girl indicated as much. “We are the Chibok girls that you cry for us to return to you. By the grace of Allah we will not return to you,” she said.

AFP

30 Chibok Girls Are Alive, Not 15 – Salkida

30 Chibok Girls Are Alive, Not 15 – Salkida

 

Ahmad Salkida, the journalist who is known to have access to the Boko Haram terrorist group, has said that 30 out of the remaining 113 abducted Chibok girls are alive.

He revealed the figure in a series of tweets on Tuesday, days after he had claimed that only 15 of the abducted girls in captivity were alive.

According to the journalist, the objectives his earlier tweets on Saturday which marked the fourth-year anniversary of the abduction of the schoolgirls included compelling the Federal Government and the insurgents to come clean with the information they have.

He, however, said one of the leaders of the Jama’atu Ahlis-Sunna Lidda’Awati Wal-Jihad (Boko Haram) has clarified the earlier information about 15 girls.

“Indeed, the 15 Chibok girls are available, but known to a particular cell that spoke to me emphatically days leading to the 4th anniversary,” Salkida said.

“However, two other cells within the larger group has brought additional information, clarifying the earlier information, that there are another 10 girls available to another cell. Outside of the 15 and 10, another five amongst the girls are also alive as at early hours of today (Tuesday), he added.

As the search for the missing Chibok girls continues, the reporter disclosed that the group told him the set of five has asked not to be considered amongst those likely be included in any possible release in the future.

He said this was because they have apparently become permanently embedded in the doctrines and teaching programs of the terrorist group.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government had earlier dismissed Salkida’s claim of only 15 Chibok girls still living, through a statement from the presidency.

According to the statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, the information is not available to the government, either from the captors of the girls or the international Negotiators working with the government.

Salkida, in his reaction, faulted the government for the statement which he described as ‘disappointing’, given the machinery available to it.

Army Declares Journalist, Others Wanted Over Links With Boko Haram Video

Army, Nigeria, Boko Haram chibok girlsThe Nigerian Army has declared three persons wanted in connection with the latest video of the abducted Chibok girls released by Boko Haram on Sunday.

Spokesman for the Army, Colonel Sani Usman, said that the suspects, Ahmed Salkida, (Ambassador) Ahmed Bolori and Aisha Wakil had information on the conditions and the exact location of these girls.

They were abducted on April 14, 2014 from their school’s dormitory in Chibok, while they were preparing for their Secondary School Certificate examinations.

Colonel Usman said that two recent incidents had pointed to the fact that the suspects were connected to the terrorist group.

He said: “The Nigerian Army hereby declare the two gentlemen and the lady wanted for interrogation.

“We are relying on the relevant laws of the land and in particular the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011 (as amended) where Nigerians could be punished for failure to disclose information about terrorists or terrorists’ activities.

“This become necessary as a result of their link with the last two videos released by Boko Haram Terrorists and other findings of our preliminary investigations”.

Ahmed Salkida is a journalist and the member of the Boko Haram that spoke in the video said they do not speak with the government except journalists. His inclusion in the list of the wanted persons is not unconnected with the statement.

New Video Of Chibok Girls

The army also urged Nigerians to provide useful information on their whereabouts.

Colonel Usman said that the military was also liaising with other security agencies for their arrest if they failed to turn up.

The Boko Haram had earlier on Sunday released a new video of the Chibok Girls.

It showed some girls they claimed were the schoolgirls they abducted from Government Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State, Northeast Nigeria.

News of the video release first emerged on Twitter, with Nigerian Blogger, Ahmed Salkida, claiming it was sent to him by the Abubakar Shekau faction of the Boko Haram.

Since the abduction of the over 200 girls, the Nigerian government has appealed for their unconditional release but the terrorists group said they had been married off.

The military has also made concerted efforts to rescue them, with several appeals made to Nigerians with any information to volunteer to the military or security agencies to enable them rescue the girls.

After their abduction in April 2014, several protests were launched in different countries, with a ‘Bring Back Our Girl’ demand.

Less than 10 of the girls have been rescued since their abduction.

Abducted Chibok Girls: Boko Haram Releases New Video

boko haram new videoA new video on the Chibok Girls has reportedly been released by the terrorist group Boko Haram, appearing to show some of the schoolgirls they abducted from Chibok in Borno state, Northeast Nigeria over two years ago.

News of the video release first emerged on twitter, with Nigerian Blogger, Ahmad Salkida claiming it was sent to him by the Abubakar Shekau faction of the Boko Haram.

This will be the third video released by the insurgents, and the second this year, after a video showing Proof of Life of the abducted Chibok Girls was earlier obtained by CNN in April.

The video shows a gun-toting insurgent carrying out a mock interview with one of the girls, who is being prompted to ask the government to release imprisoned Boko Haram fighters in return for the girls’ freedom.

Another scene in the video also shows bodies on the ground, which the group suggests are those killed by military airstrikes.


The kidnapping of over 270 schoolgirls from Government Secondary School Chibok in April 2014 sparked global outrage with calls for their release highlighted in an online campaign “Bring Back Our Girls”.

Recently reports emerged of a split in the ranks of the insurgent group, with a splinter group led by Shekau’s erstwhile second-in-command Abu Musab Al-Barnawi breaking away to form a rival faction.

No fewer than 218 girls are believed to still be in the group’s captivity while 58 escaped their captors.