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Some abducted Chibok girls refused to be ‘freed’ – Negotiator

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Some of the schoolgirls, abducted by Boko Haram militants from the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, in April 2014, refused to be part of a group of 82 girls freed at the weekend, one of the negotiators involved in the release said on Monday.

After over three years in captivity, 82 of the schoolgirls were released out of the more than 200 students, who were still in the terrorists’ captivity in exchange  for some detained Boko Haram’s suspects.

In October last year, 21 of the kidnapped girls were released in a deal brokered by Switzerland  and the International Committee of the Red Cross while 113 of the girls are believed to be still held in captivity by the terrorists.

A legal practitioner and mediator, Zannah Mustapha, said some of the abducted girls refused to join the train to freedom, fuelling fears that they had been radicalised by the jihadists, and might be afraid, ashamed or even too powerful to return to their old lives.

“Some girls refused to return. I have never talked to one of the girls about their reasons,” said 57-year-old Mustapha, who acted as an intermediary in the latest negotiations between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram, while speaking with Reuters.

“As a mediator, it is not part of my mandate to force them (to return home).”

A Nigerian psychologist, Fatima Akilu, believed that the girls might preferred to identify with their captors instead of embracing freedom.

“They develop Stockholm syndrome, identify with captors and want to remain,” said Akilu, who has run deradicalisation programmes for Boko Haram militants and women abducted by them.

“Some are afraid of what to expect, the unknown. We don’t know how much influence their husbands have in coercing them not to go back,” added Akilu, head of the Neem Foundation, a non-profit group aimed at countering extremism in Nigeria.

Mustapha explained that future talks between the government and the sect would extend beyond the release of the remaining Chibok girls in captivity and focus on negotiating peace in the conflict-hit North-East.

His role as a mediator dates back to 2007, when he founded the Future Prowess Primary School in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State.

When conflict broke out in 2009, the school remained open and was said to have even enrolled those children born to Boko Haram fighters.

 

-Punch

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About Don Saint

PR Guru / Promoter / Controversial Writer / Hip Hop Artiste / Actor / Hype man. The First Nigerian Hip Hop Artiste to obtain a Masters Degree (M.A) in Arts ( Religion & Human Relations). The author of one of the most controversial books in Nigeria; "Emancipation from Masturbation". With over 12 Movies and 3 Musical albums since 2003. Former Events Manager at Silverbird’s Rhythm Fm Awka Station till 2010. To listen to Don Saint's songs, please visit http://www.reverbnation.com/donsaint For more info. Call : 08033239298, 08056381068. Pin: 2BC176FE

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