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Friday, 23 March 2018

Dapchi Girls: Why We Looked The Other Way When Abductees Were Being Returned – DSS

Dapchi Girls: Why We Looked The Other Way When Abductees Were Being Returned – DSS

While recounting events that culminated in the abduction and return of the Dapchi girls, Director General of the Department of State Services, Lawal Daura said the only condition that the terrorists gave was for temporary ceasefire to enable them return the girls to the point they picked them.

As a way of justifying their actions, Daura said the sect members needed an assurance that security forces would keep to their words.

He described the chain of events that led to the release of the abductees as process as arduous and quite challenging.

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According to him, the sensitivity of the operation and some uncertainties surrounding it particularly routes to be used, nature of transportation, realization and concern that the girls were not kept at one place, issues of encountering Military checkpoints within the theater and indeed keeping the operation on strictly the “Principles of Need-to-Know” made the whole exercise more complicating.

The DSS boss also noted that part of the reasons why they played along with the terrorists was to explore the window of a permanent, possible cessation of hostilities, including discussing the fate of the arrested insurgents and innocent Nigerian citizens being held hostage.

He corroborated the President, saying the security operatives also discussed the possibility of granting amnesty to repentant insurgents.

He also said part of the constraints encountered was that the insurgents are factionalized while holding various spheres of influence in their guerrilla controlled enclaves.

He alluded that negative impact of social media on otherwise classified operations, including public utterances of government functionaries who were not competent to comment on the issues, posed challenges that almost marred the rescue efforts.

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“The insurgents’ only condition was their demands for cessation of hostilities and temporary ceasefire to enable them return the girls at the point they picked them,” he said.

Continuing, Daura said upon release of the girls, they were found to have contacted skin infections as a result of inability to take their bath for over a month.

“The victims were taken into the DSS medical facility and are put through programmes to give them mental stability. As such, they are given psychological mental evaluation conducted by trained specialists.

“About four who were discovered to have broken limbs and were sent for X-ray. Almost all of them had one skin infection or the other having not taken their bath for over a month. They have been medically examined, and those with ailments were treated, the measures are to ensure that they are in good health,” he told the President shortly before officially presenting the girls to him.

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