Nigeria is sending a team to Cameroon to ascertain the truth or otherwise of claims by a captured would-be female suicide bomber that she was among the 219 schoolgirls abducted in 2014 in Chibok in northeastern Nigeria.
The 15-year-old girl and a female accomplice were apprehended in the Cameroon border village of Limani before they could blow themselves up. They had explosive devices strapped on their bodies.
They are already being interrogated by Cameroonian security agents, some of who have expressed scepticism of the Chibok link.
The Nigerian team will include parents of some of the 219 kidnapped schoolgirls.
The girls were abducted by Boko Haram terrorists in the dead of night from the Government Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok, in Borno State in April, 2014.
They have not been seen since. According to a spokesman in the Nigerian Presidency, Malam Garba Shehu, Women Affairs Minister Aisha Alhassan and the Nigerian High Commission in Cameroon are fully engaged on the matter and are receiving “maximum” cooperation from the Cameroon authorities.
Mr Shehu confirmed doubts about the Chibok link claim following fresh information from Cameroon that the two girls were aged about 10 years.
“One of the two is also believed to be heavily drugged and therefore not in full control of her senses,” Mr Shehu added.
The Nigerian High Commissioner to Cameroon, Hadiza Zakari Mustapha, is expected to seek official permission to meet with the suspects.
The Murtala Muhammed Foundation in Nigeria has offered to sponsor two parents from Chibok to accompany the investigative team to Cameroon.
The selected duo are Mr Yakubu Nkeki, the chairman of the Parents of the Abducted Girls from Chibok Association, and Mrs Yana Galang, the group’s women leader.
“The Nigerian High Commission will receive the two and will facilitate their access to the two girls once permission to meet and verify their identity is obtained from the Cameroonian authorities,” Mr Shehu assured.
WAITING FOR FEEDBACK
Nigerian authorities have confirmed that the ‘Chibok girls’ captured duo was on Saturday flown from Maroua in northern Cameroon to the capital Yaounde for debriefing and identification.
The Nigerian army has been heavily criticised for failing to locate the 219 schoolgirls ever since they were kidnapped.
Army headquarters in Abuja is understood to be waiting anxiously for information on the new development in Cameroon.
It is expected that the girl, if she truly is among the missing Chibok students, will shed light on their abduction, their treatment by the terrorists, the fate of the other girls, and their likely location.
The #BringBackOurGirls pressure group that was set up to sensitise the world on the plight of the Chibok girls issued a statement in Abuja saying that it was expecting “full” official information from the Federal government on the new developments.
The Saturday statement said they could not respond to the news “conclusively until we have facts from the Nigerian government, from whom we requested and have eagerly been awaiting official information on the matter.”