Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
Borno State Government was Thursday handed over a female corps member, Halima Umar, who was abducted by Boko Haram since January, this year.
The corps member, an indigene of Gwoza in the state, was handed over to Borno State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Usman Kadafur by the trio of General Officer Commanding (GOC), 7 Division of the Nigerian Army; the state Commissioner of Police and Director, Department of State Services (DSS) in the state, Brig. Gen. Abdulmalik Biu, Mohammed Aliyu and Muritala Mamman, respectively.
THISDAY gathered that Umar’s freedom came as a result of a coordinated engagement involving key stakeholders.
Her release was also an outcome of a preliminary negotiation involving the state government; the Kalthum Foundation for Peace, a non-governmental organisation with intermediary negotiation with the leadership of the terrorist group handled by a respected investigative journalist.
Kadafur said the negotiation was in line with the state government’s desire to work with strategic partners to open lines of communication with the insurgents as a means of freeing several non-combatant captives of the terrorist groups.
He revealed that the strategic interventionist team was empaneled to use every necessary tools and good-spirited individuals to engage the insurgents in non-combative ways as a means of de-escalation framework that will eventually result in freeing more captives and safe return of displaced persons in the state.
He noted that the insurgents released Umar as a sign of goodwill to commit to a new process of resolving the conflicts in the region.
The deputy governor added that the state government, the military, and the DSS played vital roles deploying professional field experience and strategic cover for the process, and promised that the state government shall continually to bring the media up to speed as may be necessary.
He said: “We, as a government, are committed to working with the federal organs of security as well as non-governmental organisations and well-meaning citizens to pursue with vigour, the safe return of captives, displaced persons and vulnerable population of our great state.”