Released Chibok girls return to Borno for Christmas
The 21 freed Chibok schoolgirls were on Thursday sighted at the International Airport, Yola, Adamawa State, going home for the Christmas season.
This is just as rumours that the girls were a new set of rescued Chibok schoolgirls went viral on the media.
The reports (not The PUNCH) had claimed that the girls were being taken from Adamawa to Abuja to see President Muhammadu Buhari.
The acting Army Director of Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, however, told one of our correspondents on the telephone on Thursday that no new rescue of the Chibok girls was recorded, adding that the girls sighted were heading home for the Yuletide.
He said, “It is not true that the army made a fresh rescue of 21 Chibok girls. The girls sighted were the former rescued 21 girls and they were heading home for Christmas.”
Twenty-one of the kidnapped girls were released on October 13, 2016, in a deal brokered by the International Committee of Red Cross and the Swiss government.
The Federal Government had said a day after their release that it was negotiating with a faction of the Boko Haram sect for the release of the remaining 83 girls.
Another security source, who preferred anonymity, told one of our correspondents that the schoolgirls were being escorted by security operatives to Chibok to reunite with their families during the Yuletide..
The source said, “As I am talking to you, these girls are being escorted to Chibok to celebrate Christmas with their kith and kin.”
He added that security would be tightened around Chibok throughout the girls’ stay in the town to forestall any breach.
Over 200 schoolgirls were abducted by the Boko Haram insurgents on April 14, 2014 from their hostel at the Government Secondary School, Chibok while taking their final examinations.
Meanwhile, the Presidency on Thursday denied reports making the rounds that another 21 of the girls abducted from Chibok had been released.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President, Garba Shehu, made the clarification on his Twitter handle.
Shehu confirmed that negotiations were ongoing for the release of the girls and that the Department of State Services was optimistic that the negotiations would be successful.
He however disclosed that the 21 girls released recently had been taken to Yola, Adamawa State to celebrate Christmas with their families.