Premium Times (Abuja)

2 June 2014

Nigeria: Kidnapped Chibok Schoolgirls Sick, Australian Negotiator Reveals

Some of the over 250 schoolgirls kidnapped from the Government Secondary School, Chibok, almost two months ago are sick and require medical attention, a negotiator has said.

Stephen Davis, an Australian cleric, who was secretly hired by the Nigerian government to negotiate the release, stated this to the UK Daily Mail.

"One of those small groups of girls is ill and we had hoped we might convince the commander of the group holding her that she should be released so we could give her medical treatment," Mr. Davis said.

"There are other girls who are not well and we have come close to having them released but their captors fear a trap in which they will be captured in the handover process.

"One girl has what I assume is a broken wrist as they demonstrate to me how she holds her hand. I have been told that others are sick and in need of medical attention."

Mr. Davis said a large number of school girls are believed to be camped in border communities in neighbouring countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

"The vast majority of the Chibok girls are not being held in Nigeria. They are I say the "vast majority" as I know a small group was confirmed to me to be in Nigeria last week when we sought to have them released," he said.

The Nigerian government is yet to confirm or deny Mr. Davis claim that he was hired by the Nigerian government.

Reliable sources, however, confirmed that he indeed participated in the negotiation alongside a Nigerian intermediary.

Mr. Davis' claim is the first confirmation that the government is negotiating with the sect despite claims to the contrary by some senior officials including the senate president.

The Nigerian military chief, Alex Badeh, had said last week that the military was aware of the girls' location but could not use force to secure them for fear of casualty among the victims; a claim Mr. Davis also states

"There are several groups to deal with as the girls are held in several camps across the Nigerian border in Cameroon, Chad and Niger. This makes any thought of a rescue highly improbable. To attempt to rescue one group would only endanger the others. We must not endanger their lives any further."

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