Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Nigeria: Chibok High School Girls Waiting To Find Their Families
The 82 Nigerian schoolgirls who were released from the jihadist group Boko Haram after more than three years of captivity, will have to wait before they find their families, a representative of the parents told AFP on Wednesday.
Yakubu Nkeki, head of the "parents'' group of the kidnapped girls of Chibok", said that they could only see their daughters with the permission of the government.
"This may take time because girls are currently undergoing medical and psychological tests to ensure that they are in the best condition," he told AFP.
The teenagers were released Saturday after weeks of negotiations, in exchange for several jihadi fighters detained by the Nigerian authorities.
"We do not mind waiting ... Their health and well-being is our priority and such an assessment takes time, especially with so many girls," he added.
Nkeki said he could briefly meet the 82 young girls released, including his niece, "in good condition and in a good mood." According to him, they all belong to the group of high school students abducted in 2014.
Photographs of the released girls were also sent to Chibok and surrounding villages to allow their parents to verify their identity. The suspicion is generally very strong in the communities to know their degree of sympathy and affiliation to the jihadist group.
Anyone who has lived in villages held by Boko Haram, or kidnapped by the group, must carry out "screenings" by the army for random periods and sometimes for several months.
According to the Nigerian presidency, a Chibok high school student refused to be released, declaring that she was "well" and "married" to a Boko Haram fighter.
A total of 276 girls had been abducted in April 2014 from their high school in Chibok (northeast), prompting a wave of international outrage.
After this new release - 21 of them were exchanged in October 2016, 3 were found by the army and 57 escaped - 113 girls are still retained by the jihadist group.
Boko Haram, which uses mass kidnappings as a form of recruitment, has kidnapped tens of thousands of people, which the Nigerian army releases as they incursion into territories.
Since 2009, the conflict has killed at least 20,000 and displaced 2.6 million people in Nigeria.