Update: 104 kidnapped Dapchi schoolgirls released in Nigeria without ransom – Minister

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At least 106 persons, including 104 kidnapped schoolgirls, were released by Boko Haram in Nigeria on Wednesday without any ransom being paid, the government said. The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier said 76 girls had been released out of the 110 kidnapped on February 19 in Yobe state.

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The Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed, who briefed journalists in Maiduguri, said no ransom was paid to secure the release of 106 abducted persons, comprising 104 Dapchi schoolgirls, one other girl and a boy.

Earlier reports had said a ransom was paid and some insurgents were swapped to free the abducted schoolgirls.

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”It is not true that we paid ransom for the release of the Dapchi girls, neither was there a prisoner swap to secure their release.

”What happened was that the abduction itself was a breach of the ceasefire talks between the insurgents and the government, hence it became a moral burden on the abductors. Any report that we paid ransom or engaged in prisoner swap is false,” he said, according to local newspapers in Nigeria.

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The freed persons have been formally handed over to the Federal Government.

The Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj.-Gen. Rogers Nicholas, handed over the girls and one boy to the four-member Federal Government delegation at the Nigerian Air Force base in Maiduguri on Wednesday evening.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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