BY Mildred Europa Taylor, 7:10am March 13, 2018,

Nigeria to use negotiation instead of force for release of abducted schoolgirls

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari --- Guardian Nigeria

Following the success achieved with the release of some 82 Chibok girls after negotiation with the insurgent group Boko Haram, Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari has decided to use that same approach in having the rest of the schoolgirls abducted from Chibok and Dapchi returned alive.

There is a military option to bring back these girls by force but the president is not interested. He rather indicated that Nigeria was working with international organizations and negotiators, to ensure that the girls were brought back unharmed.

“We are trying to be careful. It is better to get our daughters back alive,” Buhari said as quoted by local media PM News. He disclosed this when he received the American Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, in an audience at State House, Abuja, Monday.

Nigeria to use negotiation instead of force for release of abducted schoolgirls

Buhari and Tillerson having a discussion at the Presidential Villa in Abuja — NAN

Mr Buhari expressed his gratitude to America for their help in the fight against insurgency, adding that Nigerian forces are good, “but need assistance in the areas of training and equipment.” He said he will be in Yobe State from where Dapchi schoolgirls were abducted in the coming days “as part of my condolence and sympathy visits to areas where we have had unfortunate events.”

Tension is high in Nigeria ahead of its 2019 general elections, particularly in terms of security. Nigeria’s militant Islamist group Boko Haram is fighting to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state. It has so far caused havoc in the country through series of bombings, assassinations and abductions.

Nigeria to use negotiation instead of force for release of abducted schoolgirls

Some of the Dapchi schoolgirls — Daily Post

The Nigerian Army earlier this month commenced road construction into the heartland of Sambisa forest in a bid to dislodge remnants of the Boko Haram sect who often use the forest as their hideout. Sani Kukasheka, Director of Army Public Relations, said the army had begun construction of access roads to open the forest and link adjourning communities. But that did not deter the group from striking again last month, attacking a boarding school in northern Nigeria and kidnapping over 100 of the schoolgirls.

When a similar incident occurred four years ago with the Chibok girls, some of the girls were released after negotiations to have them exchanged for Boko Haram prisoners and ransom payments. President Buhari has chosen that same option to bring back the girls but some are not enthused. Critics of this approach say by paying ransom to Boko Haram, the government was indirectly financing the terrorist group and this will ultimately hurt the country.

Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: March 13, 2018

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