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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

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)

Next Story

US Embassy in Jakarta Presents Security Warning for Americans in Indonesia

The American Embassy also warned of ongoing demonstrations at several offices related to the elections and around several public places in downtown Jakarta

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embassy, security warning
Police anti-terror unit escort suspected militants before a press conference in Jakarta, May 17, 2019. Police say they have arrested suspected militants following a tipoff about a possible attack during the announcement of presidential election results next week. VOA

The American Embassy in Jakarta has issued a security warning for Americans in Indonesia, citing concerns over the official announcement of the results of the Indonesian presidential and legislative elections on May 22 by the General Election Commission (KPU).

“Indonesian police officials have publicly cited a heightened risk of terrorism in connection with the finalization of election results, and media has reported recent arrests of Indonesians on terrorism charges,” the embassy posted on its website on Friday.

Be aware of demonstrations

The American Embassy also warned of ongoing demonstrations at several offices related to the elections and around several public places in downtown Jakarta, including offices of KPU and the General Elections Supervisory Board (BAWASLU). Demonstrations are also expected in several other cities, such as Surabaya in East Java and Medan in North Sumatra.

embassy, security warning
American Embassy in Jakarta has issued a security warning for Americans in Indonesia. Wikimedia Commons

The warning coincided with an announcement by Inspector General Mohammad Iqbal of the National Police Public Relations Division, who said at a press conference that nine people had been arrested earlier in the week in connection with a plot to bomb several unspecified locations during the current election period.

The suspects, aged between 24 and 45, are from a Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) terrorist cell in Central Java. Arrested Tuesday, six of the suspects had returned home after traveling to the Middle East to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, according to authorities quoted by the Straits Times.

68 suspects arrested since start of year

Since January, Indonesia’s Anti-Terror Detachment-88 has arrested 68 terrorism suspects, including the nine taken into custody this week, Iqbal said at the press conference. Seven were shot dead and one died after blowing himself up as he was about to be arrested in Sibolga, North Sumatra, Iqbal said, adding, “This group will take advantage of the democracy momentum because for them democracy is not in line with their understanding, and for them it is a target for their actions.”

embassy, security warning
The American Embassy also warned of ongoing demonstrations at several offices related to the elections and around several public places in downtown Jakarta. Pixabay

ALSO READ: North Korea Asks UN to Deal with ‘Illegal’ Seizure of Cargo Ship by US

On April 17, Indonesians voted in the first simultaneous elections since the country began democratic elections, with 193 million voters going to more than 810,000 polls. The first democratic presidential election took place in 2004.

The results, according to early returns, showed that incumbent President Joko Widodo defeated his opponent, Prabowo Subianto, a retired military general associated with the traditional political elite, who had vowed to challenge the official results if they confirmed that Widodo would have a second term. Widodo is the first Indonesian president from outside the Jakarta elite. (VOA)