Nigeria: Analysts doubt military ‘rescued’ schoolgirl

By Rafiu Ajakaye

LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – Analysts have started to pick holes in the official story about the Nigerian schoolgirl, who is said to have been “rescued” by Nigerian security forces.

Nigerian army confirmed late Wednesday that one of the over 200 schoolgirls abducted from their dormitory in 2014 by Boko Haram was now free, adding the girl now had a baby and was found in the company of a man, who claimed to be her husband.

In a statement, army spokesman Sani Usman said: “The rescued Chibok schoolgirl, Amina Ali, was airlifted by Nigeria air force Super Puma aircraft from Damboa to Maiduguri alongside her baby and supposed husband, Mohammed Hayatu.”

Initially, the army had identified the girl as Falmata, which contradicted the name, Amina Ali, given by the #BringBackOurGirls movement that appeared at number 127 in the list of the 219 girls still reported missing.

The statement added that both Amina and her baby were now in stable condition, and would be flown to the Nigerian capital Abuja later Thursday to meet Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

The purported husband was being questioned by the army.

The #BringBackOurGirls group said in a statement Wednesday that Amina had spoken with her mother and revealed that her classmates still remained behind in the Sambisa forest, which is considered as the fortress of Boko Haram extremist militant group.

Analysts said it remains unclear if the survivor had been released by Boko Haram or rescued by the army.

Ryan Cummings, director of the Johannesburg-based security firm Signal Risk, said: “The narrative presented is that the #ChibokGirls are a prized commodity by Boko Haram [and] yet the hostage [was found] wandering in Sambisa [which] suggests otherwise.”

Counter-terrorism expert Fulan Nasrullah said: “Why only she was discovered, the story of discovery itself doesn’t add up.

“It’s highly probable that her released was engineered.”

At least 276 girls were kidnapped from their school dormitory in Nigeria’s northeastern Chibok town on April 14, 2014, by Boko Haram militants. Only 57 of the girls had been accounted for, leaving an estimated 219 others unaccounted for.

Buhari has been under pressure from the #BringBackOurGirls movement and other groups to do more to ensure the girls are freed.

Boko Haram head Abubakar Shekau had repeatedly confirmed being behind the abduction, threatening to sell the girls off as slaves or marry them to his fighters.