Islamist sect, Boko Haram has said it will let go of over 200 girls kidnapped in Chibok, Borno state only if the Federal Government agrees to swap the kidnapped school girls with
some of its members in
According to PREMIUM TIMES, the names submitted for the
swap are said to contain mainly the sect’s middle commanders which
1. Mustapha Umar
2. Baba Alhaji
3 Baba Gana Mongunu
4. Malam Bashir Kachallah
5. Malam Baraa
6. Malam Baba Gana
7. Malam Baba Mala
8. Malam Abakar
9. Malam Ibrahim
10. Malam Awana
11. Malam Yarema
12. Malam Albani Jos
13. Malam Tuja.
close to the negotiation said there are three other insurgents whose
names were communicated through telephone calls, during later
discussions, directly to representatives of the International Federation
of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, who facilitated the talks.
Two names were initially sent but shortly afterwards, one more was called in making a total of 16.
we reported Thursday, after weeks of tough negotiations, the government
and Boko Haram sides finally accepted to what famously came to be
dubbed the “prisoner swap” of the Chibok girls with some commanders of
the Boko Haram fighting forces.
Insiders to the talk said the
insurgents were “initially modest in their demands, asking for just 10
of their field captains who appear to have a holding grip on the
imagination of the fighting forces.” At this time, this was against the
whole abducted girls.
While the security forces were combing
detention centres, shopping for the 10 detainees, our sources say
something strange happened, suggesting internal struggles in the camp of
the insurgency forces.
PREMIUM TIMES said its sources understand the “happening” to be a
factional disagreement on the ethnic composition of the 10 names tabled
for the swap. “”hey were all of Kanuri nationality and it appeared the
Hausa/Fulani faction protested this.”
The result of this
disagreement was about one week delay in the negotiations after which a
“new list of 15 was tabled, and then it was increased to 16″.
ICRC was then working with security forces to identify the names on the
list. In this period, it wasn’t clear if security forces had all the
names in demand, a situation that triggered a new frustration in the
talks, according to our sources. Were they never captured or were they
killed in battle or extra-judicially?
Our sources said some of
those identified insisted that although they were being held by Nigerian
security forces based on allegations of being Boko Haram members, they
were not terrorists or members of the sect and would never agree to a
release based on prisoner swap arrangement with the deadly group.
development, according to one of our sources, led discussions along a
frozen path. “We almost lost 10 days again to this but after a meeting
at the Kuje prisons, near Abuja, where Mustapha Umar, one of the
commanders on the list was held, the government team saw a new ray of
However, distrust was now building and the team of two Boko
Haram negotiators switched the terms of demand from 16 sect commanders
for all the girls, to only 30 girls.
But Mr. Clark, according to
our sources, told them there was no realism in their demands and that if
they so cherished their compatriots, the smartest deal for them was to
release all the girls. At any rate, Mr. Clark reportedly argued that
such a deal would put President Jonathan at the butt of a new wave of
criticism and provide fodder for the opposition. So this was not
acceptable, he reportedly insisted.
“Swap is not our idea but the
idea of the government,” the Boko Haram negotiators initially argued,
trying to insist on the high road, but they later deferred to the age of
Mr. Clark, according to our sources.
At this point also, the ICRC
team clarified the terms of their engagement, insisting that before the
swaps, they would need clear commitments from the abducted girls and
the detained fighters. “Prisoners and the girls must offer consent
before the deal can be closed,” ICRC insisted. To get the consent of the
girls the ICRC said they were prepared to risk going into the enclave
of the insurgency.
The Boko Haram negotiators reportedly said they
were comfortable with this, and that it will also help “dispel the
claims that the girls were being maltreated or that they have been
forced into marriage which will shock many people when the girls
With the Abuja negotiations sealed, Yola, the Adamawa
state capital, was agreed as the point of swap. Government negotiators
favoured a discreet arrangement where they would sneak into Yola, the
Red Cross would take custody of the girls, and in turn yield the Boko
Haram detainees to them and conclude the swap.
The management of
the Yola episode, according to our sources, put paid to the whole
arrangement. The government, in an exuberant show of enthusiasm
chartered a Boeing 737 jet to convey the girls to Abuja from Yola. What
was thought to be a discreet arrangement turned into a fantasia and loud
orchestra show. Moreover, “when we arrived Yola, half of the airport
was covered with security forces” noted one of the insiders to the deal.
they moved negotiators to the presidential lounge for a two-hour
wait…then 48 hours in the hotel…but Yola had been infiltrated by these
people and the security presence sent a wrong signal…clearly these
people didn’t trust the arrangement and they never showed up”.
from Mr. Clark, others who participated in the negotiation were two
notable Nigerian civil rights leaders, Fred Eno, and Shehu Sani,
Maiduguri-based lawyer, Mustapha Zanna, and PDP chieftain, Kaka Bolori,
along with three top officials of the International Red Cross
headquarters office in Geneva which served as the “interface”
negotiators, and two field captains of the Boko Haram sect.
contacted Wednesday, some of the principal actors in the collapsed
negotiation declined to provide details, saying it’s still premature to
divulge “sensitive details”.
“The whole thing is unfortunate, but
hopefully we can revive the negotiations,” one of the negotiators, Fred
Eno, told PREMIUM TIMES. “The president desperately wanted the girls
released, but politics of positioning stood in the way of progress”.
President of the Kaduna-based Civil Rights Congress, Shehu Sani,
insisted he was not comfortable discussing the matter at this time,
suggesting that it was irrelevant talking about what worked and what
didn’t work at least until the girls are rescued.
Mr. Clark did
not answer or return calls made to his telephone on Thursday morning. He
also did not respond to a text message sent to him.
Matsha-Carpentier, the Senior Media Officer for the International
Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, was also unavailable
Thursday morning. He is yet to return calls made to him.
for the Nigerian presidency were also unavailable to provide insight
regarding why the administration acted the way it did in the final
minutes of the negotiation. Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser to the
President on Media and Publicity, as well as Doyin Okupe, the senior
special assistant on Public Affairs, didn’t answer or return calls
Source: PM News