80 CHIBOK GIRLS RELEASED 24 HOURS AFTER PREVIOUSLY BELIEVED DEAD BOKO HARAM LEADER SHEKAU APPEARS IN A NEW VIDEO

Over 80 Chibok school girls who were abducted by the insurgent group, Boko Haram, have been released.

Nearly 300 girls were abducted from their dormitories in 2014 as they prepared to write their final exams.

Twenty one of them were earlier released last October after negotiations between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government.

Two other girls were found separately, in addition to those who escaped on the night of their abduction, bringing to over 50 those who regained freedom.

Chibok-girls

It is not immediately clear how many girls were released this time, but Sahara Reporters said 80 were released, and were at Banki town in Borno State awaiting airlift.

The Senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, who took part in previous talks to free the girls, told PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday that he was aware that “about 85 per cent negotiations had been completed last night”.

“Although I did not participate in the negotiations, but, I am fully in the know of what was going on,” Mr. Sani said.

The Senator had earlier on Saturday tweeted “Chibok girls shall be free Insha Allah”.

BokoHaram_leader

Meanwhile the Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau appeared in a new video published online on Thursday, rejecting claims he had been injured in an airstrike in remote northeast Nigeria.

The jihadist chief was said to have been wounded and one of his deputies killed when two air force jets bombarded fighters at Balla village, on the edge of the Sambisa Forest in Borno state, last Friday.
Surveillance footage showed missiles being fired on what the air force said were Boko Haram fighters, while the army announced it had “neutralised quite a number of terrorists”, including in Balla.

 

“There were indications that quite a number of the terrorists’ key leaders have either been killed or wounded,” army spokesperson Brigadier-General Sani Usman said earlier on Thursday, without naming Shekau.
But in a 14-minute video, the shadowy Boko Haram leader claimed ignorance of both the incident and the location, insisting he was not injured and that none of his key lieutenants was harmed either.
“I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m alive,” he said, wearing his trademark camouflage jacket and cradling an assault rifle.
“I’m alive, you have not killed any of my men. I didn’t even know this incident you are talking about ever happened.
“What surprises me is your claim that I’m nursing wounds. Look at me well. Look at my sitting posture.”
There was no indication where the video was shot.
In it, Shekau was flanked by two masked, armed men, sitting against what appeared to be a desert camouflage net and Boko Haram’s black and white insignia.
He spoke in Hausa and Arabic.
The Nigerian authorities’ reticence about naming Shekau is likely to come from previous occasions when his death has been announced prematurely, only for him to reappear in video messages.
He has rejected military claims the rebels are depleted and in disarray as a result of a sustained counter-offensive that began in early 2015 and recaptured swathes of territory.
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