54 girls in B’Haram video identified as abducted pupils

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No fewer than 54 of the girls shown in the video released on Monday by Boko Haram  have been identified by their parents.

The video was shown to the parents, pupils and teachers of the Government  Secondary School, Chibok, security men and some officials of the Borno State Governmentat in the Government House, Maiduguri on Tuesday.

Isa Gusau,  Special Adviser to Governor Kashim Shettima on Communications, however, explained  in a statement  that  the  names  were  “currently being compared with school records as well as  the ones  published some days back to ensure accuracy.”

“The exercise continues at the Government House and it is hoped that more names will be established by parents, students and teachers as well as management of the affected school,”  Gusau added.

The statement reads in part, “Governor  Shettima has confirmed that the young girls shown in a video released by Boko Haram   are part of  the schoolgirls abducted at the Government Secondary School, Chibok following a night attack on April 14, 2014.

“Fifty four of the girls  in  the video have been identified by their names at an exercise that involved some parents of the girls, fellow students that include those that escaped  the  abduction, some teachers, security men and some officials of the state government led by the Chief of Staff to the Government House,Abubakar Kyari.

“The parents and students were conveyed to the Government House in Maiduguri to make for an open identification.

 “Governor Shettima announced this in Abuja today during a press briefing held after a peaceful procession by a coalition of civil society bodies and activists under the Bring Back Our Girls initiative in Abuja.

 “Shettima said the figures of those identified by their names were climbing as the exercise went on at the Government House in Maiduguri. He was briefed every 30 minutes. Initially, while he was addressing the BBOG group, 36 names had been identified but before his press briefing an hour later, the number had climbed to 54 which he then told journalists.

 “He had on Monday  directed the identification to be conducted. The Chairman of Chibok Local Government Area  and other government officials were made to mass produce the video.

“But after the exercise in Chibok, Governor Shettima directed for another round of verification to be conducted at the Government House in order to cross-check findings so as not to mislead the public.

“The second exercise confirmed the preliminary exercise in Chibok.”

 Before the statement, Reuter said one of the parents     had    identified her daughter in  the  video.

It quoted the Chairman of the Parent-Teacher Association  of the school, Dumoma Mpur, as saying that the   woman   watched the video on television on Monday evening and spotted her daughter among the girls sitting on the ground and wearing veils.

 “The video got parents apprehensive again after watching it but the various steps taken by the governments and the coming of the foreign troops are  boosting our spirit, even though I have not seen  even  one soldier in Chibok yet,” Mpur  said.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria,  Mr. Femi Falana(SAN),   also  said that some of the  parents  had  identified their  children in the video.

Falana, who   addressed members of the National Conference Committee on Civil Society, Labour, Youths and Sports   in Abuja on Tuesday,  said,  “Some parents that   we have spoken with said that  they have watched the video and have been able to identify their children.”

We’re ready for talks with Boko Haram –FG

But as the video viewing continued in Maiduguri, the Minister of Special Duties, Tanimu Turaki, said the Federal Government was  ready   to negotiate the release of  the girls with Boko Haram. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau  had said on Monday that  the sect was ready to swap the abducted  girls  for  his members  detained by security forces across the country.

Turaki, who is  also the chairman of the committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan to find ways of reaching agreement with Boko Haram,     said that if Shekau was sincere, he should   send people he trusted to meet his  committee.

 Presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, in a statement   issued after  Jonathan’s  meeting with the Congolese President, Denis Sassou  N’guesso, said the two leaders had demanded the unconditional release of the girls.

 They   also sought  the release  of all others   held against their will by Boko Haram.

  Jonathan was  in Congo for consultations on regional security ahead of Wednesday’s meeting of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council.

Abati said  the President and N’guesso also called on African leaders, the African Union and its Peace and Security Council to intensify efforts aimed at the eradication of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups on the continent.

The statement reads in part, “Expressing their full appreciation of the international community’s support for Nigeria’s efforts to locate and rescue the abducted girls, President Jonathan and his Congolese counterpart urged the global community to remain united and steadfast in its rejection of all forms of terrorism.”

 Mark  opposes   negotiation

 Senate  President David Mark  had in  far away Beijing, China   ruled out the possibility of the Federal Government negotiating with the sect  for the release of the   female pupils.

Mark   told journalists   that “the government would never negotiate with terrorists of which Shekau is one, under whatever circumstance.”

He argued that  negotiating with  the terrorists would  “further give them room to  wreak more havoc on both the country and its people.”

Mark  added, “Nigeria will not negotiate  with the terrorists under any circumstance because you don’t negotiate with criminals which Boko Haram insurgents are.

“We are going to bring the girls back safe and sound to their parents without any negotiation with Boko Haram. Every effort  towards that which cannot be disclosed in the public is being made to rescue the girls.”

 US drones, other aircraft join search Meanwhile, the United States has begun  flying “manned” missions over Nigeria to track   the abducted schoolgirls.

“We have shared commercial satellite imagery with the Nigerians and we are flying manned ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) assets over Nigeria with the government’s permission,” a senior US official told  the  Agence France  Presse,   asking not to be named.

Also,US experts   are   carefully studying the Boko Haram   video in the hope it might yield vital clues as to where the  girls are being held.

State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said, ‘‘Our intelligence experts are combing through every detail of the video for clues that might help ongoing efforts to secure the release of the girls.

“We have no reason to question its authenticity.”

Psaki recalled that the US policy  was  also “to deny kidnappers the benefits of their criminal acts, including ransoms or concessions.”

A 30-strong US team arrived on the ground last week in Nigeria to help growing efforts to find the girls aged between 16  and  18.

The White House said the team included five State Department officials, two strategic communications experts, a civilian security expert and a regional medical support officer.

Also on the manifest are 10 Defence Department planners, seven extra military advisors from US Africa Command and four FBI(Federal Bureau of Investigation) officials and experts in hostage negotiations.

“We are talking about helping the Nigerian government search an area that is roughly the size of New England,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

“So this is no small task. But we are certainly bringing resources to bear in our effort to assist the(Nigerian) government.”

US  commander, Badeh meet

The Commander of the United States African Command, Lt.- Gen. David Rodriguez, on Tuesday met with  the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, over Washington’s    assistance to Nigeria in the fight against insurgency.

A Defence headquarters statement quoted  Badeh  as saying that the military was ‘already re-strategising its operational doctrines to match the emerging trend of asymmetrical warfare currently confronting the nation.’

Army  changes 21 Armoured Brigade Commander, flays Shettima, Senators 

The  authorities of the Nigerian Army have made some strategic changes at command level in the North-East.

A military source said on Tuesday that the Chief of Army Staff,  Lt. Gen Kenneth Minimah, had authorised the removal of  the Commander of the 21 Armoured Brigade, Maiduguri, Brig.-General Ogundele.

 Investigations revealed that the former Commandant of the 22 Armoured Brigade, Ilorin,  Brig.-Gen. A.B. Akomolafe,  replaced  Ogundele.

The  former Chief of Staff to the Commander of the 21 Armoured Brigade, Col. Ekepere, was moved   to the newly created Infantry Brigade, Gwoza.

It was learnt that Ogundele, who fought off the insurgent’s invasion of the headquarters of the 21 Armoured Battalion  in March, was summoned to Abuja by Minimah.

Meanwhile, the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Olajide Laleye, has  announced the immediate promotion of 296 personnel of the Nigerian Army for a rare display of gallantry during an  attack in which several insurgents were killed .

Also, the Director of Defence Information, Maj.Gen Chris Olukolade, could not be reached for comment as the calls to his mobile telephone line did not connect.

  Shettima, Borno senators  gave   wrong information -DHQ

 The  military has said that Governor  Shettima, and senators from  Borno              State gave misleading information to security operatives on the abduction of the    girls  .

 The Director of Defence Information, Maj.-Gen Chris Olukolade, said Shettima   gave information about the movement of 60 trucks which were  found to be false.

Speaking on African Independent Television   Focus Nigeria Programme on Tuesday, Olukolade  said   the military swung into action using aircraft to comb the area and destination given by the governor only to find nothing.

 He  claimed  that the  information was  released with the intent to wear out the military through waste of resources.

 The Defence spokesman added  that similar information   given by  Senators from the area led the military nowhere.

 He said, “I think, what you were saying was in retrospect. Like I said, we want to avoid engaging him(governor) in public. There was a piece of information he gave sometime which was about the movement of 60 vehicles.

“Immediately that information came, aircraft went on air instantly. The whole of the environment he gave was searched, up till the points he said  was the destination of those vehicles. They were searched thoroughly and  nothing was found.

 “And this is one issue about information in this operation, which seem to have been, most of the time, unhelpful because it tends to just want to  wear us out and  expend resources. By the time aircraft go on air, you can imagine the resources involved. We have a series of that experience.

“One problem with the situation right now is too many pieces of information that are of no value at the end of the day. But it is a resolve that no information would be despised, whosever is giving it whether it is the governor or the man on the street. Once the information comes, a lot of action goes into place instantly.

“The same with the senators. In fact, most of the time the Senators speak, it gives us the impression they were in close contact. And many times perhaps, they also mislead.”

Olukolade said that one of the senators also claimed that 300 people were killed at Gamboru Ngala, which was found to be untrue.

 LIST OF IDENTIFIED GIRLS

  1. Agnes Gafane
  2. Saraya Stober
  3. Hauwa Bitrus
  4. Hajara Isa
  5. Na’omi Philimun
  6. Hauwa Abdu (1st Speaking)
  7. Magret Yama
  8. Shitta Abdu
  9. Jummai Muta
  10. Ladi Paul
  11. Roda Peter
  12. Filo Dauda
  13. Godiya Bitrus
  14. Saratu Tauji (2nd Speaking)
  15. Ross Daniel
  16. Hauwa Ali
  17. Hajara Isa (Amira 3rd Speaking)
  18. Luba Afga
  19. Na’omi Luka
  20. Saraya Emos Ali
  21. Bilkisu Abdullahi
  22. Mairama Ali
  23. Maryam Ali Maiyanga
  24. Dabora Abbas
  25. Kabu Mala
  26. Halima Ali
  27. Yana Bukar
  28. Solomi Pugu
  29. Lydia Emmar
  30. Luba Sanda
  31. Saraya Samuel
  32. Comfort Habila
  33. Rejoice Shanki
  34. Gloria Yaga
  35. Mary Nkeki
  36. Moda Baba
  37. Hauwa Isuwa
  38. Patient Jacob
  39. Ladi Jajel
  40. Abigel Bukar
  41. Fanta Lawan
  42. Zainabu Yaga
  43. Aisha Lawan Zanna
  44. Dokas Yakubu
  45. Kabu Mala
  46. Maryama Bashir
  47. Hauwa M. Maina
  48. Mary  G. Dauda
  49. Susana Yakubu
  50. Maryam Abbas
  51. Laraba John
  52. Hanatu Nuhu
  53. Na’ omi Bukar
  54. Rifkatu Galang
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