Boko Haram: Rescued 293 Women, Girls Not From Chibok – Borno Govt.
…We Won't Give Up On Chibok Girls – Shettima
SAN FRANCISCO, April 29, (THEWILL) – Amid apprehension and curiosity about the identity of the 293 women and girls rescued by the military from Boko Haram enclaves in Sambisa Forest,Tuesday, the Borno State Government, Wednesday, cleared the air, saying they are not from Chibok but from Bumsiri Village in Damboa Local Government area of the state.
The government however said it would not give up on the abducted Chibok schoolgirls as apprehension over their whereabouts continues.
Making the disclosure was the state Commissioner for Information, Dr. Mohammed Bulama, who said the profiling of the 200 girls and 93 women showed that they were abducted from Bumsiri .
The Defence Headquarters, which announced the rescue of the women, said they were found at Tokumbere camp, inside Sambisa Forest believed to be Boko Haram’s last stronghold.
While commending the military for the gallantry in achieving the feat, Bulama said the state government was still of the opinion that more abducted people would soon be rescued.
According to him, the government has started making plans to put in place all the necessary structure to rehabilitate the freed women and girls back into the society.
“These girls and women rescued are still our daughters as much as the Chibok girls and we have to commend the military for liberating them, hoping that the rest will equally be liberated.
“Though everyone had thought they were the Chibok girls because of the hype surrounding the abduction of the Chibok girls, but we should not lose sight that they are as important as the Chibok girls and those that were still in captivity which we hope would be liberated soon.
“But at the moment, we are looking up to the time the 293 women/girls would be handed to us so that we can begin the process of rehabilitating and reinterpreting them back to the society,” he said.
Bulama's disclosure came as the State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, said the military’s operation that led to the liberation was “gratifying regardless of whether or not the rescued women were form part of the over two hundred schoolgirls stolen by insurgents at Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State on April 14, 2014.”
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Mallam Isa Gusau, said: “The lives, safety and well-being of all citizens of Borno are of equal importance to him (the governor) and as such he celebrates news about the rescue with so much excitement in a manner he would celebrate when the military succeeds in freeing the Chibok schoolgirls who he said are very dear to him as they are to the entire world given the fact that they were kidnapped under a special circumstance as they were in school and captured together in large numbers.”
Speaking further, Shettima said:”I was so full of excitement, gratitude to God almighty and commendation to our gallant armed forces for this great humanitarian feat.
“For me, the lives, safety and welfare of all citizens of Borno State are of equal importance. These rescued women are daughters, sisters and perhaps also mothers whose lives are important not just to their loved ones but also to me as Governor of Borno State whose mandate is to cater for the welfare of all those living in any part of Borno State regardless of who they are, their faith, gender, age, geopolitical origins and other background elements.
“They are important to us and words cannot explain how please we are. We are very particular about Chibok schoolgirls because of the peculiar manner in which they were kidnapped and how that kidnapping has redefined the Boko Haram insurgency.
“ The Chibok schoolgirls are very dear to my heart because they were kidnapped while they were in school. “Their kidnapping is very symbolic because their kidnappers are opposed to western education, especially female education. The entire world, especially myself, is desperate about the rescue of the Chibok schoolgirls in order not to allow the ideology held by the insurgents to thrive and to encourage education which is the foundation of any human or society that seeks to develop.
“However, this rescue is also very dear to me. I am as pleased as much as I would be when the Chibok schoolgirls are rescued by the special grace of God. I am very optimistic, prayerful and supportive of the military’s ongoing rescue and counter insurgency operations.
“We won’t give up on the Chibok schoolgirls like I said two weeks ago. No sane parent gives up on a missing child. I have daughters and I know the love of a parent to the girl child. For now, it is better to allow the military handle things, conduct their investigations and ascertain the identity of those rescued but irrespective of the identity of the girls, we are very happy they have been rescued whether they are citizens of Borno or any where else.
“I kindly urge the media to refer to the military for updates on the matter so that there are no mix-ups at any point. I kindly call on all citizens of Borno and other fellow Nigerians to pray for our armed forces and volunteers to succeed so that good will triumph over evil.
“We have abiding faith in God that he will see us through these times and we shall overcome the temporary but traumatic moment of grief. God will set Chibok girls and all Nigerians free from fear and the brutality of Boko Haram insurgents and others in their league.”