Freed Boko Haram captives undergoing counseling in Abuja

A Dapchi resident said the Boko Haram terrorists were celebrated when they brought the girls back.

The terrorists were said to have peacefully driven into the town to drop off the girls and warned their parents not to send the children back to western schools.

On February 19, 2018, the sect abducted 113 pupils of the Government Girls Science and Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe State.

But 105 of the girls were released following negotiation with the Federal Government - six of them reportedly died during the abduction process while the only Christian among the girls, Leah Sharibu, remain in captivity because she refused to convert to Islam.

Arrival of Dapchi girls

A Dapchi resident, Ibrahim Husseini, who was quoted by Premium Times, said the terrorists were celebrated when they brought the girls back.

He said, "It was a thing of joy for us in Dapchi when suddenly we began to see trucks moving into the town at about 8:00 a.m in the morning.

"They brought the girls and then they were telling the general public that they should not go back to Western education schools; that what they did was not terrorism but rather the propagation of Islamic knowledge."

The secretary of the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls’ parents' group, Kachalla Bukar, was also quoted to have said he was present when Boko Haram returned the girls, unlike other villagers who fled fearing that it was another attack on the town.

"...we, the parents of the missing girls, did not run as other villagers did, because we cannot run and leave our girls in the hands of the Boko Haram.

"When they came, they told us that they were returning the girls not because somebody gave them money, but out of their freewill. We thanked them. Then they told us that we must never return our girls to western school again; we said we will do as said. They preached to us for some time, and we said we will heed to their sermons.

"They shook our hands and asked us to forgive them for whatever pains that they might have caused us; then we shook hands and they asked us to snap photos with them using their mobile phone which we all did", Bukar said.

Mixed feelings have trailed the released of the girls, with many condemning security operatives for giving the terrorists a safe passage after the girls were dropped off.

The Federal Government has also said that no ransom was paid for the girls' freedom, a story many Nigerians believe did not add up.

Some critics accused the government of conspiracy given how Boko Haram took the girls and returned them so easily - a move contrary to the known operational pattern of the group.

In April 2014, the Abubakar Shekaufaction of the group abducted 219 girls in Chibok, Borno State during the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

It took a year after the PresidentMuhammadu Buharigovernment assumed power for 21 out of the 219 girls to be released and a huge ransom was paid to secure their freedom.

In May 2017, 82 more of the Chibok girls were freed by the terrorists as others remain in captivity.

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