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Salkida: Boko Haram didn’t plan to abduct Chibok girls… it was an afterthought
Ahmad Salkida, a Nigerian journalist who has a close relationship with Boko Haram, says Boko Haram’s abduction of 204 students of Government Girls Secondary, Chibok, was not the original plan but an afterthought.
In a series of tweets on Saturday, the fourth anniversary of the kidnap, Salkida said some insurgents were led by a middle-ranking commander in search of food and other supplies in Chibok before they came across the students, who were then preparing for their Senior Secondary Certificate Examination.
He said that in the first month of the girls’ abduction, the insurgents did not know what to do with them.
“Four years ago, a middle-ranking BH commander led dozens of fighters in search of food and other supplies in the remote town of Chibok; like an afterthought, they saw a chance to abduct school girls in GSS Chibok, the girls at the time were preparing for their exams,” he wrote on his Twitter handle.
He added that the Boko Haram members faced no opposition in abducting the girls.
“The dozens of BH fighters faced no opposition during the abduction, as they struggled to convey their captives to the forest of Alagarno, the insurgent’s first war capital, which they named Timbuktu. It was in Timbuktu that they organised most of the horror we experience today.
“Some of the girls were lucky to have escaped on their way to Timbuktu that night, because there were fewer fighters to hold more than 200 girls. At the beginning, the group didn’t know what to do with the girls, at least not in the first one month of their captivity.”
Contrary to what is held by the public, that the former administration of Goodluck Jonathan did nothing to rescue the girls when they were first abducted, Salkida clarified that the government reached out to him two weeks into the abduction to negotiate with Boko Haram.
“However, what many people did not know was that two weeks into the abduction, the Jonathan administration was already in touch with me for the peaceful release of the girls. By the way, I was in self-exile after pressure from the same Govt,” he said.
Salkida narrated how met with Jonathan and then with the insurgents to negotiate the release of the girls, and how the operations were aborted without explanations.
He tweeted: I took an excuse where I was doing a menial job in the UAE (but still reporting the insurgency), to see the President, which was facilitated by Aliyu Gebi and Labaran Maku. By the 3rd of May, I was already on my way from Abuja to Madagali, Marwa and finally to a BH camp.
I got a proof of life for the president and another for the media in case I didn’t get back. The demands of BH then were simple, they wanted detained members taken to Damaturu and they will move the girls to Buniyardi for swap somewhere in between. There was no word on ransom
I was provided with full military escorts frm Abj to Damaturu, Govt was supposed to make sure that 70 detainees were ready on my arrival in Damaturu to meet 30 there. The rest of the negotiating team was in Abj making sure the prisoners were on a plane before my arrival…
On arrival in Damaturu, the military commander there was not briefed about my work. He was merely told to expect a VIP? At that time, the girls have been moved by BH, but there was no prisoners for exchange and I got a call from the former CDS to abort the operation
The President later said before me that he did not call off the swap. There was a credible window, but zero Will to rescue the girls. BH were angry. I returned to the UAE to continue my hustle, but received invitatns not only by the former administratn, but the current govt.
Four out of five process that I was involved in, we came close to a swap deal, but Govt in most instances did not provide the platform I presented with the required expertise. And whenever Govt dragged its feet, Shekau will shift the goal post.