Boko Haram terror group is unwilling to negotiate the release of 113 remaining Chibok girls kidnapped in northeastern Nigeria in 2014, a Nigerian activist quoted Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, to have told her in the capital Abuja.
Bukky Shonibare, who was speaking in Washington DC on Thursday at the premiere of a fresh movie on the terror organization “Boko Haram : A Journey From Evil“, told those in an attendance that most of the remaining 113 Chibok girls are said to be held by the factional leader of Boko Haram, Abu Mus’ab Habeeb Bin Muhammad Bin Yusuf al-Barnawi.
But Barnawi does not seem to be interested in any talks with the Nigerian government, according to Mr. Osinbajo.
al-Barnawi, who was the spokesman of Boko Haram before ISIS announced him as the leader of the ruthless, deadly organization in February 2015, is believed to be even deadlier than Abubakar Shekau, the notorious Boko Haram leader, who had been announced dead three times, only to re-emerge like a ghost in videos threatening more bloodshed and horror.
Shonibare came to the limelight in Nigeria as she and others continued to demand more efforts from the government for the release of the Chibok girls after they were abducted in their school in Chibok, about 130 kilometres from Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria’s northeastern state of Borno on April 14, 2014.
The mass kidnap of about 276 girls triggered outrage and condemnation and partially led to the defeat of Nigerian former President Goodluck Jonathan by retired military Major-General Muhammadu Buhari.
Buhari vowed earlier on to take on Boko Haram, free the Chibok girls and bring peace to the devastated Northeast, but his government was accused of inaction in the first year of the administration until more than 100 girls were released following prisoners swaps with Boko Haram fighters later on.
The new film, “Boko Haram: Journey from Evil”, showcased the resilience of Nigerians in the face of Boko Haram atrocities.
It aired, for the first time, part of 18-hour footage of Boko Haram atrocities and propaganda obtained by the Nigerian army and released to Voice of America, the producers of the movie.
The footage left the audience gasping and brought a close look inside the minds, propaganda and atrocities of Boko Haram like never seen before.
Boko Haram is the terror organization operating around the Lake Chad Basin in West Africa, which has killed tens of thousands of people in Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad, and displaced more than two million others since 2009.
Thousands have also been kidnapped and journalists who ventured into the war zone for coverage have often paid either with arrests, prisons or intimidation.
The publisher of Simon Ateba News Africa, Mr. Simon Ateba, who now lives in Washington DC, was in 2015 arrested by the Cameroonian security forces, detained for days in inhuman conditions and accused of being a Boko Haram spy while investigating the living conditions of Nigerian refugees at the Minawao refugee camp in Cameroon’s far north.
The Boko Haram barbarity continued on Wednesday night, with a suicide bombing in the locality of Zamga in the Mayo Tsanaga division in Cameroon’s far north, just days after eleven Cameroonians were beheaded by Boko Haram nearby.
“A suicide bomber blew herself up at 19:45 local time in front of a mosque,” said Mayo Tsanaga Prefect, Mr. Djoboina Jean Daniel. “The attack killed 6 people, including 5 civilians and the young suicide bomber,” he added. Many people were injured.
In neighboring Nigeria, many soldiers were recently ambushed and killed.
All said, the incursions of the Boko Haram sect have claimed nearly 400 civilian victims in Nigeria and Cameroon since April of this year, “more than twice as many as in the previous five months,” according to a report released last September by Amnesty International. In Cameroon, the Belgian Institution counted 158 civilians killed by the Nigerian jihadist organization since April, while the rest of the victims were civilians in Nigeria.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Citizens, especially in areas directly affected by the conflict, are finding innovative ways to successfully resist the insurgency.
It is these stories of hope and resilience shared by three Nigerian women that were showcased in the new film, “Boko Haram: Journey from Evil”.
The new film was aired at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington DC on Thursday, and a panel discussion follwed afterward.
Narrated by award-winning actor David Oyelowo (“Selma”), the one-hour documentary provided context to the on-going conflict and profiled the brave actions of Nigerians who bring hope to their communities even in the midst of crisis.
The movie focused on the causes and effects of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria and emphasized what Nigerians were doing to fight back.
It however, seemed to have fallen short on the real causes of the war, which is believed to be the battle for oil in Borno by foreign powers.
It also seemed to neglect the thousands of people killed in Cameroon and hundreds of thousands displaced there.
USIP said it was “co-hosting the Thursday, Nov. 2, event as part of its ongoing efforts to advance a broad strategy for building peace in Nigeria, including dialogues among the governors of Nigeria’s northern states and civic leaders”.
“Boko Haram: Journey from Evil” was produced by Voice of America.
The panel discussion after the premiere of the movie included Fati Abubakar, who has been documenting the stories of the survivors of Boko Haram insurgency with her still camera.
Abubakar said too often attention is on the bomb blasts, the bloodshed and other acts of horror. But beside them, there is the story of the survivors that she is documenting with her camera and posting on her website, bitsofborno.com
She called on the government of Muhammadu Buhari to continue driving the terrorists away, identify problems that need to be solved and tackled them.
Also in attendance were Ibrahim Ahmed, Managing Editor of Digital Media, Voice of America, Washington, D.C., Shareef Khatib, North East Regional Initiative, Abuja, Nigeria, and Beth Mendelson, Senior Executive Producer of Boko Haram: Journey from Evil, Voice of America, Washington, D.C., and Oge Onubogu, Senior Program Officer, Africa Programs, USIP.