A Nigerian journalist, Ahmad Salkida, who is believed to have some closeness to some Boko Haram sect members, has claimed that only 15 of the 113 Chibok girls abducted by the insurgents from Government Girls’ College, Chibok in Borno State in 2014 are alive.
Salkida, who wrote the first article on Boko Haram said in his tweets that even the status of the surviving girls could not be ascertained for “my investigations also revealed that, they are no longer under the control of #AbubakarShekau…they are now ‘married’ and only their ‘husbands’ can decide their fates.
“Today, my painstaking investigations on the #Chibokschoolgirls revealed that just a handful of the 113 #ChibokGirls are alive.
“Many of the girls have died as a result of cross fires and bombardments of the security forces that no doubt were intent on rescuing them.
“I regret to state here that only 15 out of the 113 #Chibokgirls are alive today, based on my investigations in the last three months and we have already seen some of them in a video, which I exclusively obtained and was published on SR website.
“What is the status of the remaining 15 girls as far as negotiations are concerned? My investigations also revealed that, they are no longer under the control of #AbubakarShekau. According to sources, they are now ‘married’ and only their ‘husbands’ can decide their fates.
“If they are divorced or the men are killed that is when Shekau’s decision takes precedence, and in this instance, since the girls have been indoctrinated, their leader has no right to negotiate for their release, no matter the ransom offered, reliable multiple sources said.
“It will be unbearable to share the names of the 15 that are alive here, this is the responsibility of Government. When I was involved, I regularly provided proof of life. Government must demand that to prove me wrong or stop negotiating for many of the girls that don’t exists.
“The secrecy around the condition of the #ChibokGirls and most recent #DapchiGirls debacle by those involved is the reason people like me are out of the picture. The fact remains that under the present circumstances there is NO room for peace settlement.
“The way out for these girls, is a military rescue or negotiate with individual captors to release their ‘wives’ in return for some kind of deal, but this will mean death to these fighters bcz the terror group now sees the girls as part of their own and must be protected.
“How comes there is little or no information about the girls and both the parents and campaigners are in the dark? Because, Government resist independent reporting of the crisis, most of the reports are choreographed & Nigerians are also not ready to hear the truth or stand by it,” said Salkida in his tweets.
Ministry of defence, presidency fault Salkida’s claim
However, the defence headquarters faulted Salkida’s claim that only 15 of the Chibok schoolgirls were alive.
Defence spokesman, John Agim, said in an interview that the claim was meant to discourage the military from searching for the remaining girls.
“Who are the people making the claim? I don’t think anyone should take them seriously; they are not credible.”
Also, the senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu, said the presidency was not aware of the claim made by Salkida.
He said in a press statement made available to journalists that the information was not known to the officials of the administration either from the captors of the girls or the international intercessors who are working with the government.
Shehu said Salkida was not involved in the process leading to the release of over 100 girls and was also not involved in the current efforts aimed at securing the release of the remaining girls.
“We wish to confirm that Mr. Salkida is not involved, on behalf of the Nigerian government, in the processes leading to the release of the over 100 Chibok girls that have returned to their families, so far and he is also not involved in the current processes to secure the release of those still held in captivity.
“If there is any information he has concerning the remaining girls, he has, up till this moment, not approached the government of Nigeria with it. All press enquirers on the subject should therefore be directed to Mr. Salkida,” said Shehu.
ADDITIONAL SOURCES: PREMIUM TIMES, TIMES