Boko Haram are reportedly ready to release some of the abducted Chibok girls following a secret negotiation with the group commander.
According to The Nation, they want to exchange the female students kidnapped in April for 18 key sect members currently in detention.
Some disagreements appeared last night however as the Nigerian authorities wanted Boko Haram to release all the 219 girls missing for almost 5 months, while the latter agreed to free only 30.
It has been gathered from the sources that the group directed a list of its commanders and the names of students to be swapped to the Civil Rights Congress President, Comrade Shehu Sani.
The emergence of swap possibility is believed to have appeared after there were held secret talks between a government delegation and a Boko Haram commander identified as Umar, who is being detained in Kuje Prison in Abuja.
The source was quoted saying:
“Some top officials met with Umar about two weeks ago in Kuje Prison to discuss issues connected to the fate of the Chibok girls. We heard some inmates sharing this information that the sect might swap the girls with Umar and others. But all the details are still secret because Umar keeps to himself a lot.”
Another source claimed the negotiations had been successful adding that the sides had agreed on the deal.
“The delegation had a fruitful negotiation with Umar, who is one of the highly-rated commanders of Boko Haram. The group assured Umar of a swap and he has been looking forward to it. The sect has given a list of 18 of its members to be swapped with the abducted Chibok girls.”
Some security operatives have allegedly warned the government that the release of 30 girls was a dangerous move when there was “no full assurance that all the girls will be released”.
One of the sources said:
“So, technically, the release of 30 girls was unacceptable to the government based on the advice of some security agents.”
However another source added:
“You can see why Nigerians should stop blaming Boko Haram from continuously keeping these girls in captivity. What is of concern now is to get even these 30 girls out to prove to the whole world that they are alive.”
Sani when contacted refused to provide any comment on the issue last night.
It would be recalled that Sani, who has experience of direct negotiations with Boko Haram, shortly after the abduction predicted that the insurgents might use the girls as means of releasing their comrades-prisoners rather than kill the hostages.
Soon the militants’ leader Abubakar Shekau released the video showing the students and provided the option to swap the girls for Boko Haram prisoners.
Sani was among those who urged the authorities to accept the deal.
The “swap” saga was surrounded by numerous controversies, with some sources saying that the government made a U-turn when the deal was close to being secured and other sources insisted that the deal was stopped by the insurgents.
More than 200 female students were abducted on April 14. Despite the interference on international powers, human rights activists, military forces and social campaigners, the majority of the girls are still missing.
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