The Director General of the State Security Service (SSS), Lawal Daura, on Friday, March 23, said the SSS followed President Muhammadu Buhari’s order to secure a peaceful and timely release of the Dapchi girls from their abductors.
Premium Times reports that Daura, who spoke when President Buhari received the schoolgirls at the State House presidential villa Abuja, said there was an intense behind-the-scene dailogue led by the Department of State Security Service (SSS) to secure the release of the girls.
But 104 girls out of the 110 abducted from a secondary school in Dapchi, Yobe state, were returned to the entry of the village by their abductors in the early hours of Wednesday, March 21.
Daura, while speaking on the negotiation that led to the release said the insurgents’ only condition was their demands for cessation of hostilities and temporary ceasefire to enable them return the girls at the point they picked them.
Daura said: “The exercise was arduous and quite challenging. The sensitivity of the operation and some uncertainties surrounding it, particularly routes to be used, nature of transportation, realization and concern that the girls were not kept at one place, issues of encountering military checkpoints within the theater and indeed keeping the operation on strictly the principle of need-to-know made the whole exercise more complicating.”
Daura said the negotiation was necessary not only for the girls release but also to secure a permanent and possible cessation of hostilities.
Other interests, he said, include discussing the fate of the arrested insurgents and innocent Nigerian citizens being held hostage and the possibility of granting amnesty to repentant insurgents.
He said these factors “presently seem problematic because the insurgents are factionalized while holding various spheres of influence in their guerrilla controlled enclaves”.
He said: “The negative impact of social media on otherwise classified operations, and of course, some of the utterances of the government functionaries who were not competent to comment on the issues, posed challenges that almost marred the rescue efforts.”
The SSS officer also spoke about the physical and mental welfare of the girls after their release.
He said: “As such, they are given psychological mental evaluation conducted by trained specialists. About four (4) were discovered to have broken limbs and were sent for X-Ray.
“Almost all of them had one skin infection or the other having not taken bath for over a month. They have been medically examined, and those with ailments were treated. The measures are to ensure that they are in good health.”
The SSS officer said: “Six more Dapchi girls are yet to be accounted for, and dialogue on these students is still on-going.”