Dapchi girls, the 105 school girls abducted from Government Girls technical College, Dapchi, Yobe state recently, has regained their freedom, though not without some casualties. Reports indicate that they were returned with about five of them dead twenty four hours after the Amnesty International accused security agencies of having prior knowledge of the impending abduction hours before it took place, thereby putting them in complicit position and resulting in general suspicion regarding the whole abduction saga. It was also surprising that since the Amnesty report surfaced, soldiers were said to haveimmediately cordoned off the town, barring Journalists form entering the town. Later, the girls were said to have been brought back to the town in the same nine vehicles they were taken away with, in convoy, and they were dropped at the police station and in different places along the road. In the confusion, many people ran out of the town into the bush.
Although Boko Haram were alleged to have been behind the abduction, the group has not claimed responsibility of the abduction as at press time, a departure from the 2015 abduction of Chibok girls, when Boko haram, in various videos, claimed responsibility.
The kidnap of the girls have been seen by many as being politically motivated. Only recently, after the abductions, reports were rife of soldiers who were about five kilometers from Sambisa forest on the trail of Boko Haram, only to by instructed from the military high command to turn back. When they did, they ran into Boko Haram ambush and were all slaughtered. This was also a replay of what happened in 2015, a situation that then resulted in mutiny among the rank and file. This later resulted in court Marshal.
Confirming their return, the Senior special assistant to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the girls are being transported to safety. “We will give details later. We thank God”, he said. But Lai Mohamed, Minister of informant said about 91girls were released, and many were dropped along the road and made their way to their homes. According to him, nine of the girls are still missing.
The abduction of the girls have been enmeshed in lies, controversies and confusion. Immediately it was announced, the Minister of information, Lai Mohamed, went to town claiming that over a hundred aircraft had been deployed to survey and fish out the location of the Dapchi girls. In a swiftt reaction, the military spokesperson flatly denied ever authorizing such number of aircraft for the surveillance. Buhari later went to the school and spoke to the students in Hausa Language, a development that sparked outrage on social media. Many queried why a science secondary school cannot produce students who can communicate in English Language. Was Science thought in indigenous Hausa Language? Moreover, many that were interviewed only spoke in Hausa .
Besides, President Buhari said during his visit that the girls will be released within one week. And within one week they were released. This resulted in skepticism among his critics, who point out that when the Girls were abducted, he was busy attending parties when the Fulani herdsmen and school girl’s kidnappers are on the prowl. He had gone for a wedding of the children of the Governor of Kano and Oyo states. Some accuse the government of executing a well scripted drama in the abduction saga, and that the drama is geared towards the 2019 presidential election campaign.
It is not immediately clear whether ransom was paid to effect the release of the girls. it is also not clear whether they are released, rescued or returned. Federal government has in recent times become antsy about ransom being paid by it to Boko Haram members, which is an indirect accusation of funding of the group by the government. Recently, an Editor with a National daily was detained for daring to report the amount of money that was paid to Boko Haram as ransom money. Many feared that such monies snake its way to such international terror organizations like ISIS, who once reportedly pledged allegiance with Boko Haram.