Boko Haram is allegedly seeking ransom for the release of Chibok schoolgirls. The terrorist sect may have indicated it is looking for about $50 million, in exchange of the 219 schoolgirls it had kidnapped almost two years ago. It is presently unclear if the current Nigerian government is willing to pay Boko Haram as senior leaders appear divided.
After a failed attempt to get their jailed comrades released, Boko Haram is demanding cash in exchange for the schoolgirls the terrorist sect had kidnapped from Chibok in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno State, reported the Telegraph. Boko Haram is demanding roughly $50 million ransom for the more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls. The terror group reportedly conveyed their expectations during secret meetings with the current Nigerian government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Nigerian president has shown willingness to negotiate for the girls’ release on multiple occasions in the past, but so far, none of the kidnapped girls have been returned. Many regional experts have questioned the motives of the terror group and expressed doubts about the new ransom deal.
Their skepticism stems from the numerous reports which indicate Boko Haram regularly uses girls and women as suicide bombers. The barbaric group reportedly straps on bomb vests on these women and sends them into crowded markets. These helpless victims are then blown to bits using a remote-controlled detonator. Since June 2014, the terrorist group is believed to have used over 100 women and girls.
Despite the intensive online campaign, which garnered a lot of steam on social media, there has been no clue about the whereabouts of the girls. Ever since the abduction two years ago, no concrete information about the girls has surfaced. It is not clear if any of the Chibok schoolgirls were used as bombers. Such uncertainty has fueled an intense debate among the senior leaders in the Nigerian government regarding the ransom deal allegedly proposed by Boko Haram.
Incidentally, this isn’t the first time Boko Haram has offered to release the Chibok schoolgirls if the government met their demands, reported 23 ABC. The group’s leader, Abubakr Shekau, had earlier demanded the release of jailed comrades in exchange for the schoolgirls. The Red Cross had been attempting to secure the release of the schoolgirls, but the deal couldn’t be brokered because Nigeria did not have the militants listed by the terror group. It appears Boko Haram’s commanders weren’t in the custody of Nigerian prisons.
The new ransom deal has surfaced just a few days shy of the second anniversary of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping. Posing as Nigerian soldiers, Boko Haram gunmen had abducted about 219 schoolgirls on the night of April 14, 2014. The abduction caught the world’s attention, with celebrity-backed #BringBackOurGirls campaign on social media going viral. Despite their case receiving global attention, diplomats and sources close to the negotiations say they are no closer to knowing the girls’ whereabouts, reported World Stage Group.
The Nigerian military has made significant strides against the Boko Haram. In the last 18 months, Nigerian Special Forces have surgically raided multiple hideouts and strongholds of the terrorist group, and successfully freed hundreds of men, women, and children, which were abducted in other mass kidnappings. Besides the hostages, the commandos managed to capture several rounds of ammunition and weapons, apart from large cache of cash. However, there has been no sign or news about the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls.
The senior leadership is currently divided over the issue. While some believe the ransom might end the ordeal of the girls and end the long-standing hostage situation, others believe paying Boko Haram would merely embolden the group and allow the sect to procure more weapons and expand their hiring programs.
It is not clear if the kidnapped Chobok schoolgirls are even alive. However, it seems Boko Haram did release a crude video that allegedly showed 15 of the kidnapped girls to convince the Nigerian government to pay the ransom.
[Photo by Florian Plaucheur/Getty Images]