A legal practitioner and mediator who negotiated the release of the 82 Chibok girls, Zannah Mustapha, has revealed that some of the abducted girls opted to remain with their captors.
Speaking with Reuters, Mustapha said the refusal of the other girls may be because they may have been radicalised by the Islamic terrorist group or might be afraid, ashamed or even feel too strong as terrorists to return to their old lives.
According to the 57-year-old intermediary, “Some girls refused to return. I have never talked to one of the girls about their reasons.
“As a mediator, it is not part of my mandate to force them (to return home).”
The lawyer noted that future talks between the government and the insurgents would extend beyond the release of the remaining Chibok girls in captivity and will also focus on negotiating peace in the North-East.
Speaking further, Mustapha said, “We are not just talking; we are still actively working towards peace.
“Even though we have got (some of) the girls back, I don’t feel we have made much progress. After the (release of) the 21 girls, how many hundreds have been killed by suicide bombings?”
“While Boko Haram may indeed hold out in releasing all of the hostages to maintain some form of leverage, the reality is that the girls have limited value to the sect outside of public relations capital and are likely placing a strain on resources.”