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Nigerian Defence says ‘Chibok schoolgirls not in our custody’

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CONTRARY to some media reports, the Nigerian Defence has said that the missing Chibok schoolgirls reported to have escaped from Boko Haram are not in their custody.

Lucky Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff, made this known on Sunday while addressing journalists during an operational visit to the Headquarters, Command and Control Centre of Operation Lafiya Dole in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.

“What we know is that we do not have any of the Chibok girls in our custody, that is (with us). All I can tell you is that yes, we desire that all the Chibok girls would receive their liberty and if our operations have helped those ones that have been alleged to have escaped, I think we are glad, we hope to strengthen the efforts that we are putting on in order to free the rest that are behind lines,” Irabor said while responding to questions from journalists.

He added that the Defence has been conducting operations that have led to hostages escaping the custody of their captors.

“Yes, the operations that we have been conducting is not new, the operation has been on for well over one month and so the intensity of the operation is what of course has led to so many of those who have been held behind lines to escape,” he added.

On Friday, January 29, the CNN reported that some of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram about seven years ago have escaped from their captors.

According to the CNN, father of one of the escaped schoolgirls, Ali Maiyanga, said his daughter Halima Ali Maiyanga told him that she and others are being looked after by the Nigerian Army.

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When The ICIR contacted Sagir Musa, the Army spokesperson, he said all questions concerning the Chibok schoolgirls should be directed to the Nigerian Defence.

In 2014, no fewer than 276 female students were abducted from the Government Secondary School in Chibok town, Borno state by the armed insurgent group, Boko Haram.

Since their abduction, the government has only been able to secure the release of 107 while 57 others reportedly escaped from their abductors, while the whereabouts of the remaining 112 Chibok schoolgirls have remained unknown.

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