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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)

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Terrorist Safe Havens Should Be Eliminated: Rajnath Singh

Rajnath Singh said in Bangkok that the international community should come together to disrupt terrorist networks

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in Bangkok on Monday that the international community should come together to eliminate terrorist safe havens. Wikimedia Commons

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in Bangkok on Monday that the international community should come together to eliminate terrorist safe havens and disrupt their networks and financing in order to thwart cross-border movements for achieving sustainable regional security is achieved.

Singh was addressing the sixth ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Thailand, which holds the rotating chairmanship of the regional framework this year. Describing terrorism as the most heinous cross-border crime, Singh said some states have been using terror to pursue their political goals.

“It is so much worse when terrorists are aided, abetted, armed, financed and sheltered by States. The interplay between states and non-state actors, used as proxies to foment violence, has worsened this menace. The persistence of State-sponsored terrorism is not just a painful cancer, it is also the leading reason for unsustainable security,” said Singh.

Rajnath Singh
Rajnath Singh says that The persistence of State-sponsored terrorism is the leading reason for unsustainable security. Wikimedia Commons

The theme of the meeting this year is ‘Sustainable Security.’ Singh said there is a need for a more cooperative, equitable and consultative paradigm to deal with the broad and complex security challenges to find sustainable solutions.

Singh further said that India’s Indo-Pacific vision is based on the idea of sustainable security as it focuses on a free, open, inclusive and rules-based region in which there is respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all natikons.

“Our region must remain open and welcoming to the interests of all, those who live in it and others whose interests are in it. In short, our approach to security in the Indo-Pacific is sustainable by definition because it emphasises Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR),” added Singh.

On negotiations for a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea, Singh said the outcome of these talks will be in keeping with all relevant international laws, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. He said the forum promotes freedom of navigation, overflight and lawful commerce and also emphasised the need to protect the rights of States that are not party to these negotiations.

Also Read- India Still Projected To Be The Fastest Growing Economy Among G-20 Nations

Singh emphasied that India looks forward to the progress made through dialogue in addressing all related issues, including the proliferation trail that links South and East Asia on the issue of denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. “As dialogue remains on the table, we hope missile launches and such destabilising activities will cease”, he said.

During the course of his address, Singh said India is eager to co-chair the India-Indonesia Expert Working Group on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) in the next cycle. (IANS)