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Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo Greets Newly Freed 21 Chibok Girls from Boko Haram Terrorist Group

Information Minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed called the girls' release "the product of painstaking negotiations and trust on both sides"

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Some of the 21 Chibok school girls released are seen during a meeting with Nigeria's Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja, Nigeria, Oct. 13, 2016. VOA
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Twenty-one newly freed Chibok girls, kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014, met with Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday in Abuja.

The release of the girls is “very exciting news for the whole country,” he said.

Osinbajo denied press reports that the girls had been swapped for four captured Boko Haram militants.

Boko Haram on Aug. 14, 2016, released a video of the girls allegedly kidnapped from Chibok in April 2014, showing some who are still alive and claiming others died in airstrikes. VOA
Boko Haram on Aug. 14, 2016, released a video of the girls allegedly kidnapped from Chibok in April 2014, showing some who are still alive and claiming others died in airstrikes. VOA

Information Minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed called the girls’ release “the product of painstaking negotiations and trust on both sides.”

The International Red Cross and the Swiss government brokered the talks that led to freedom for the 21. Nigerian officials said talks with Boko Haram for the remaining captive girls would continue.

The names of all 21 girls will be released as soon as their families are contacted. Information on their health has also not been disclosed, but one of the girls is pregnant.

Map, VOA
Map of Nigeria, VOA

Mohammed thanked all Nigerians for their support and for “never losing confidence in the ability of Mr. President [Muhammadu Buhari] to secure the safe release of our Chibok girls.”

Buhari, who is traveling to Germany on official business, said on Twitter he had been briefed on the girls’ release before departing. “I welcome the release of 21 of our Chibok girls, following successful negotiations,” he said.

Boko Haram kidnapped nearly 300 girls from a secondary school in the Borno state town of Chibok in April 2014. Dozens escaped, but 219 remained captive.

These were the first of the Chibok girls to be rescued as a result of government action.

FILE - Martha Mark, mother of kidnapped schoolgirl Monica Mark, cries as she displays her photo in the family's house in Chibok, Nigeria, May 19, 2014. VOA
FILE – Martha Mark, mother of kidnapped schoolgirl Monica Mark, cries as she displays her photo in the family’s house in Chibok, Nigeria, May 19, 2014. VOA

Buhari has repeatedly vowed to rescue the girls and crush Boko Haram, which has frequently attacked schools as part of its seven-year insurgency in northeastern Nigeria, aimed at setting up an Islamic state.

The group, whose name is roughly translated as “Western education is forbidden,” has been blamed for about 20,000 deaths in the region since 2009. (VOA)

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India, Canada Pledge To Fight Terrorism In All Forms

Modi and Trudeau also welcomed the agreement on a bilateral Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism that was signed between the two countries

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India Canada pledges to fight terrorism of all kinds together. Facebook
India Canada pledges to fight terrorism of all kinds together. Facebook
  • India and Canada pledged to fight terrorism in all its forms
  • Modi and Trudeau also agreed on the Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism
  • Both the countries are looking forward to a cooperative future

India and Canada on Friday pledged to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations while declaring that no country should allow its territory to be used for terrorist and violent extremist activities.

The assertion by the two countries came in a joint statement issued after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau and assumes significance in the context of perceived softness on the part of Canada towards Khalistani separatists operating on its soil.

India and Canada pledged to fight terrorism together. www.affairscloud.com
India and Canada pledged to fight terrorism together. www.affairscloud.com

“Recognising that terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation to violence present acute challenges to global peace, stability and prosperity, the leaders resolved to combat terrorism and violent extremism in all their forms and manifestations,” the joint statement said.

“They called for bringing terrorists to justice and holding accountable state sponsors of terrorism, including cross-border terrorism. They further emphasised that no country should allow its territory to be used for terrorist and violent extremist activities.”

Modi and Trudeau also welcomed the agreement on a bilateral Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism that was signed between the two countries.

The Framework recognised the urgent imperative to disrupt recruitment, terrorist movements and the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, address the threat posed by cross-border and state-sponsored terrorism, stop sources of terrorist financing, dismantle terrorist infrastructure and prevent the supply of arms to terrorists and counter violent extremism and radicalisation to violence.

The two sides emphasised the need to deny operating space to terrorist and violent extremist groups.

Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism was signed between the two countries. Wikimedia Commons
Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism was signed between the two countries. Wikimedia Commons

Under the Framework, both sides committed to further develop exchanges and facilitate effective cooperation in the fields of security, finance, justice, and law enforcement, including, where appropriate, at the operational level.

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It consists of institutionalised cooperation between the National Security Council Secretariat of India and the office of Canada’s National Security and Intelligence Advisor, and regular exchanges and coordination between India and Canada, which will be guided by the joint National Security Advisors’ Dialogue.

The joint statement further said that to reaffirm the importance of lawful commerce and the freedom of navigation and over-flight throughout the Indo-Pacific region, in accordance with international law, including the rights and jurisdiction of states under UN Convention for Law of the Sea (Unclos), the two leaders supported bolstering regional connectivity through transparent development of infrastructure and use of responsible debt financing practices, while ensuring respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the rule of law and environment.

Modi and Trudeau also expressed “strong concern” over the prevailing security situation in Afghanistan and the recent political developments in the Maldives and their implications for free society.

The Two Countries will work together towards peace.
The Two Countries will work together towards peace.

On the economic side, both leaders agreed to realise the full potential of bilateral trade and investment and both sides will renew efforts to expand and diversify bilateral economic and commercial relations.

“They will also intensify negotiations to finalise a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and a Bilateral Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement,” the statement said. Modi and Trudeau also agreed to strengthen bilateral and international cooperation to address climate change and secure a clean energy future and committed to promoting the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

“The leaders welcomed the initiative to establish the (India-initiated) International Solar Alliance to promote renewable energy for sustainable development,” the statement said. “They urged research institutions and industry in both countries to collaborate to promote greater use of solar technology.”

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It stated that the two leaders “underscored the importance of accelerating the global transition to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy sources and acknowledged that renewable energy is a pathway to a low-carbon and more sustainable energy system”.

“Recognising the dynamic role of people-to-people ties in the India-Canada partnership, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to address consular issues of mutual concern through discussion between the concerned officials,” the statement said. “They welcomed the expansion of direct air connectivity between Indian and Canadian cities.” IANS