At least four intermediary groups are currently in talks with Boko Haram sub-faction in northwest Nigeria with the aim of getting the terror group release the over 500 secondary school students it abducted last Friday, HumAngle has learnt.
A top government official told this newspaper on Thursday that all options are being explored to secure the schoolboys’ release.
He explained that not only has the government deployed all necessary military assets to rescue the children, but it has also given the green light for peaceful negotiations with the terrorist abductors.
“This will likely be one of the most short-lived terrorist abductions,” the official expressed hope.
He further said the reason for this was because of the abducted children’s harsh and dire circumstances, especially occasioned by the cold, harmattan season.
He added that the government was also worried about the likelihood of multiple groups clashing, which could threaten the boys’ safety or complicate ongoing efforts to rescue them.
There are indications that the negotiations are with the commanders of the new Boko Haram cell in the northwest rather than the central leadership based in Sambisa forest, Borno State.
In a report published in July, HumAngle had noted that the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, was actively working towards expanding his domain beyond the northeast to other parts of northern Nigeria.
His plan, this paper understood, was to grant considerable independence to the allied groups in the other regions, with him serving merely as a spiritual leader. This could mean that the terms for the release of the Kankara schoolboys would largely be determined by the sub-faction operation around Katsina.
Meanwhile, chairperson of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, claimed on Thursday through her verified Twitter account that the abducted students had been rescued.
She, however, deleted the tweet minutes later and claimed in separate posts that they originated from a fake account and that her Twitter and Instagram accounts were hacked into.
The same day, Boko Haram released a video to prove that the students were alive and under its custody.
One of the boys who spoke said some of them had been killed because of attempts by military personnel to rescue them and urged the government to the terrorists so they could be released.
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