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More than 100 Nigerian Schoolgirls Kidnapped by Boko Haram Have Been Freed

The terror group Boko Haram, have returned almost all the 110 girls they seized from a Nigerian school a month ago. One of the goals of Boko Haram is to stop children receiving what it perceives as western style education.

Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed said, 104 of the girls abducted by militants from their boarding school on February 19 were “dropped off” Wednesday in Dapchi in northeast Nigeria.

Mohammed said no ransom was paid to free the Dapchi schoolgirls and said their release “came with no conditions. They didn’t want to hand them over to any third party. Nothing was given in exchange for them.”

“They said that if they knew they were Muslim girls they wouldn’t have abducted them,” said Mohammed Mdada who saw the girls being whipped. “They warned the girls that they should stay away from school and swore that if they came back and found any girl in school, they’d abduct them again and never give them back.”

Witnesses said the militants pulled up near Dapchi police station on Wednesday and shouted that parents should pick up their daughters. Initially, villagers ran away fearing another attack. But when they realised what was happening, they began to cheer and wave at the militants, chasing after their pickup trucks, some recording videos on their phones.

The mass kidnapping brought back painful memories of the 2014 Boko Haram abduction of nearly 300 girls from a separate school in Chibok, 170 miles southeast of Dapchi. More than 100 of them remain in captivity.

President Buhari described the kidnappings in Dapchi as a “national disaster” and said “Let me assure that our gallant armed forces will locate and safely return all the missing girls,” Buhari said in a statement on Twitter in February.

But an Amnesty International report on the kidnappings released this week accused the Nigerian army of failing to act on advance warnings of the raid.

“The Nigerian authorities must investigate the inexcusable security lapses that allowed this abduction to take place without any tangible attempt to prevent it,” said Osai Ojigho, Amnesty International’s Nigeria director.

>Juthy Saha

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