The military authorities have taken the 293 women and girls rescued by the Special Forces during a raid on the dreaded Sambisa Forest to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Maiduguri, Borno State.
An intelligence officer, who made this known to one of our correspondents on
Wednesday, also said the women and girls were undergoing a series of tests, including pregnancy and HIV in the hospital.
The officer also said that seven of the girls
had gunshot injuries which were being treated by the medical officials of the UMTH.
Findings indicated that out of the 293 ladies, 200 were aged between 13 and 18,
the age brackets of the Chibok schoolgirls
abducted by Boko Haram insurgents on
April 14, 2014.
When one of punchng correspondents contacted the Director, Defence Information, Maj. Gen. Chris. Olukolade,
to confirm the officer's information on the
rescued females, he said, "We will talk
about it when we are through; we are busy moving them off the line of duty for a thorough screening.
"The military would do everything to take
care of them and make them feel not traumatised."
Punchng source explained that the military would on Thursday (today) commence a
holistic investigation of the identities of the girls and women after the tests and treatment.
Another officer told The PUNCH that the
DHQ was being careful with saying who the women and girls were to avoid mistakes.
He said, "This is a sensitive matter that has to be handled with serious caution. You cannot say before the commencement of the investigation that they are the Chibok girls or not.
"Another thing is that you cannot start asking them if they are from Chibok because of the harrowing experiences or
trauma they have gone through.
"Clearly, it would be too early for anybody
to say that Chibok girls are among them
or not; they are under custody; they went
through trauma and we want to them to
have some relief. Those with medical
requirements are being treated.
"But the military is very careful. There is
the need to ascertain their true identities.
"There would be individual interrogation
of each of those rescued, to ascertain
their link with the sect."
However, the Borno State Government
said on Wednesday that most of the ladies were from Bumsiri, a village in Damboa Local Government Area of the state.
The state's Commissioner for Information, Mohammed Bulama, told journalists in Maiduguri that, "The girls and women rescued are our daughters just like the Chibok girls. We have to commend the military for liberating them, hoping that the rest will equally be liberated.
"Though everyone had thought they were
the Chibok girls, but we should not lose
sight that they are as important as the
"At the moment, we are looking forward
to the time the 293 women/girls would be
handed over to us so that we can begin
the process of rehabilitating and
reintegrating them into the society."
Also, the Borno State Governor, Kashim
Shettima, described the military operation
as "gratifying regardless of whether or not
the rescued women formed part of the
over 200 schoolgirls abducted by insurgents in 2014."
Shettima, in a statement by his Special
Adviser on Media, Isa Gusau, said, "I am
so full of excitement and gratitude to God.
I commend our gallant armed forces for
this great feat. For me, the lives, safety
and welfare of all citizens of Borno State
are of equal importance.
"However, this rescue is also very dear to
me. I am as pleased as much as I would
be when the Chibok schoolgirls are rescued by the special grace of God. I am very optimistic, prayerful and supportive of the military's ongoing rescue and counter-insurgency operations.
"We won't give up on the Chibok
schoolgirls like I said two weeks ago. No
sane parent gives up on a missing child.
"I have daughters and I know the love of a
parent to the girl child. For now, it is better to allow the military handle things, conduct their investigations and ascertain the identities of those rescued but irrespective of the identities of the girls,
we are very happy that they have been
rescued whether they are citizens of
Borno or anywhere else.
"We have abiding faith in God that He will
see us through these times and we shall
overcome the temporary but traumatic
moment of grief. God will set Chibok girls
and all Nigerians free from fear and the
brutality of Boko Haram insurgents and
others in their league."
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress
has appealed to the abductors of the
Chibok girls to embrace reconciliation and
A Deputy President of the NLC, Mr. Peters
Adeyemi, said, "We use the opportunity to
join in the call for the release of the Chibok girls; we plead with those who abducted them to release them in the spirit of national rebirth and lay down their arms to give way to a reconciliatory dialogue for peace and stability of the nation."