Latest: Dapchi schoolgirls released by Boko haram
Boko Haram has released most of a group of schoolgirls taken hostage in a mass abduction a month ago, government officials said on Wednesday.
The 110 school pupils were kidnapped from the north-east town of Dapchi on February 19, in a case with echoes of the Chibok school abduction that sparked the global #bringbackourgirls social media campaign.
Early on Wednesday morning, however, residents of Dapchi said that a convoy of Boko Haram gunmen returned to the town and dropped most of the hostages off.
“These girls were not accompanied by any security personnel. Their abductors brought them, dropped them outside the school and left, without talking to anyone.”
Schoolgirls wait for the arrival of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari at the Goverment girls’ science and technical college in Dapchi, Nigeria March 14, 2018 CREDIT: REUTERS
Residents of Dapchi, who had posted a billboard of 110 passport photos of the missing girls outside their school, said they initially fled on Wednesday morning when they heard reports that a Boko Haram convoy was heading into town.
Instead, the gunmen arrived without firing a shot and dropped the girls off from a convoy of vehicles, some at the school itself, others by the roadside. One witness in Dapchi told the Associated Press that fighters said to residents they had returned the girls “out of pity.”
They also claimed that the gunmen had warned them “don’t ever put your daughters in school again”. Boko Haram’s name translates roughly as “Western education is forbidden”.