Thirteen Nigerians kidnapped by Boko Haram, a jihadist militant organization in Nigeria, regained their freedom on Saturday, February 10, 2018. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) noted in a statement that they “facilitated the handover” from Boko Haram to the Nigerian military of “10 women police officers and three university professors”:
This operation in north-east Nigeria, with the ICRC acting as a neutral intermediary, was carried out at the request of the parties to the ongoing armed conflict…The ICRC was not involved in any negotiations that led to the handover of the 13 people. The armed opposition handed the 13 people over to ICRC representatives who transported them to Nigerian authorities. This action was similar to what the ICRC did in October 2016 and May 2017, when we transported the release of “Chibok girls” to Nigerian officials.
Ten female police officers were kidnapped by Boko Haram in June 2017 after militants allegedly ambushed a convoy of security personnel in the north-eastern city of Damboa, Borno State. They later released a video in which they described the police officers as their “slaves“.
Similarly, three professors from the University of Maiduguri, Borno State, were also abducted by Boko Haram in the Magumeri area of Borno State, north-eastern Nigeria during an oil exploration in the Lake Chad Basin area on Tuesday, July 25, 2017. A few days later, Boko Haram released a video footage of the university teachers.
Boko Haram has been responsible for thousands of deaths including suicide bombings and violent, militant attacks in north-east Nigeria, northern Cameroon, and Niger. The kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in 2014 by Boko Haram in Chibok, north-east Nigeria led to the global hashtag #BringBackOurGirls which later morphed into the “Bring Back Our Girls” movement.
Twitter user Jeff Okoroafor, a Nigerian citizen, thanked the Bring Back Our Girls Nigeria (BBOG) for their persistent advocacy which has kept the abduction of Nigerian citizens at the forefront:
I want to personally and specially THANK ALL members of @BBOG_Nigeria for their perseverance – keeping the issue of the #UniMaidLecturers & #LASSAWomen in the front burner all this while. Well done fellow compatriots.
Our dear leader and heroine, @obyezeks GOD bless you ma'am.
— Jeff Okoroafor (@JeffOkoroafor) February 10, 2018