Parents of freed Nigeria schoolgirls still wait to see them

The Chibok schoolgirls freed from the clutches of Boko Haram will return to school in September, Nigeria's minister of women affairs has said.

The release was made possible after "lengthy negotiations" which saw the Nigerian government agree to an exchange of some Boko Haram prisoners for the schoolgirls.

Senator Ndume and representative of Asabe, Vilita Bashir, both representing local government areas that include Chibok, addressed the girls separately, thanking God for their return and calling on them to pray for the return of others still in captivity.

"She said the strong prayers of the nation had kept them going and believed that the remaining girls still in captivity would soon be released".

Some of the girls who escaped shortly after the mass kidnapping said some classmates had died from illness, and others were radicalized and didn't want to come home.

Genuine relationships will emerge, as not all fighters behave brutally to the women in the camps, particularly if children are involved, she added.

"Any parents that identified their children will be brought next week to see them", she told AFP at the staff quarters of the Department of State Services.

Boko Haram militants are thought to be still holding more than 100 of the 276 taken from Chibok three years ago. The newly released girls will join the program.

"At the end of the day, we want to have world leaders out of every one of them so that they can be what the terrorists did not want them to be", Yesufu said.

"We're very careful who we grant access to #Chibokgirls. We will never prevent them from seeing their daughters", a government tweet quoted Alhassan as saying.

Rebecca Yaga and her husband Samuel, are still optimistic that even if their daughter is not part of the 82 girls who were recently released, she will certainly be released.

Tsambido lamented that Parents were denied access to the girls.

"The parents of the #Chibokgirls are free to visit them at any time".

The government has published a list of the girls' names, and parents in Chibok, some 900 kilometers northeast of the capital, are slowly learning if their daughters were among those freed. "She indicated that she wanted to go home", said Alhassan.

She said all the girls would resume the new academic session in September, including the recently released 82 Chibok girls, adding that they will undergo skill acquisition.

"(Given) our long historical independent neutral stance, it's common for us to be the middle man in hostage releases", said Jason Straziuso, spokesman for ICRC for East Africa.

  • Rogelio Becker