FG: Chibok Girls to Reunite with Parents Next Week


The 82 Chibok schoolgirls who were released after being held for more than three years by Boko Haram terrorists will be reunited with their parents next week, according to the Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan.

Alhassan said the students’ parents would travel from Borno State to meet their daughters in Abuja.

“Any parents who identified their children would be brought next week to see them,” she told AFP at the staff quarters of the Department of State Services (DSS).

The 82 have been staying at the domestic intelligence agency facility on the outskirts of the city since their release in a prisoner swap deal last Saturday after months of negotiations.

The Islamist militants seized 276 girls in April 2014, triggering global condemnation and drawing attention to the bloody insurgency.

Fifty-seven escaped in the immediate aftermath. Of the 219 who did not manage to flee, 106 have either been released or found, leaving 113 still missing.

The First Lady, Aisha Buhari, whose husband, President Muhammadu Buhari, was elected on a pledge to defeat Boko Haram, met some of the Chibok girls last Wednesday.

The girls, dressed in colourful traditional ankara print dresses, sang songs and danced in front of the cameras.
The women’s affairs minister said the recently-released 82 girls would be reunited at another facility in the capital with 24 of their classmates who were released or found last year.

They will receive “psycho-social therapy” and “vocational training” to help them reintegrate into society.
Campaign groups and families have criticised the government for keeping the previously released girls away from their parents but Alhassan said they were free to come and go from the centre.

Most chose to stay in the capital, she added. The government goal is to have all the girls back in school at the start of the new academic year, she added, without specifying where.

“I believe from now to September, these other ones (the recently released 82 girls) would have stabilised and we will be able to take all of them back to school,” she said.

Thousands of women and young girls have been abducted in the eight-year insurgency, which has left at least 20,000 people dead and displaced more than 2.6 million.

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, meanwhile indicated that talks with Boko Haram members about the release of the remaining 113 girls could pave the way for a possible end to the conflict.
“We are looking beyond the release of these girls. We are looking at something much more comprehensive, which is the cessation of all hostilities,” he said.