Ahmad Salkida, a Nigerian journalist with access to the top echelon of the Boko Haram has said contrary to his earlier claim, 30 out of the 113 Chibok girls still in custody of the insurgent group are still alive.
Salkida, had in a series of tweets on Saturday, April 14, the fourth anniversary of the abduction of the girls said only 15 of the abductees still in custody of the insurgent group are still alive.
He said then that 98 of the girls had died in captivity.
“Many of the girls have died as a result of crossfire and bombardments of the security forces that no doubt were intent on rescuing them. I regret to state here that only 15 out of the 113 #Chibokgirls are alive today, based on my investigations in the last three months,” he had written.
However, in another tweet thread on Tuesday, the journalist who at a time was involved in efforts to free the girls, said two other cells within the sect told him that apart from the 15, there were other Chibok girls in their custody who are still alive.
“A leading member of the Jama’atu Ahlis-Sunna Lidda’Awati Wal-Jihad or Boko Haram has now clarified the earlier information about 15 girls. Indeed, the 15 #Chibokgirls are available, but known to a particular cell that spoke to me emphatically days leading to the fourth anniversary.”
“However, two other cells within the larger group has brought additional information, clarifying the earlier information, that there are another 10 girls available to another cell. Outside of the 15 and 10, another five among the girls are also alive as at early hours of today,” he said.
With the new information, the total numbers of the girls, reportedly alive are 30, he declared.
Salkida also added that the set of five, according to information available to him, have imbibed the doctrines and teachings of the sect and would not want to be considered among those expected to be released in the ongoing negotiation between the group and the federal government.
It will be recalled 276 school girls were verified by the Presidential Task Force to have been taken hostage by Boko Haram terrorists in the April 14, 2014 abduction.
57 of the girls escaped on their own leaving 219 captives.
In October 2016, 24 of the girls were freed through negotiation by the Federal Government (21), and indirectly from various military operations mounted by the Nigerian Army (3).
On May 2017, 84 more were also recovered through negotiation by the Federal Government, and in December, one of the #Chibokgirls was found along with another abducted young woman, thus bringing the total number of recovered girls to 107, and 112 of the girls yet to be accounted for.
The federal government had earlier said the information by Salkida that only 15 of the girls are alive is not available to it.
“It is most disappointing that the government in its might and given the machinery available to it, peremptorily declared to the public that it lacks institutional memory regarding the processes of the #Chibokgirls,” Salkida wrote while challenging the government to release a proof of live video to dispute his claims about the girls.
Salkida said the objective of his earlier tweets was to compel the government and Boko Haram to speak, but the government was unnecessarily defensive.