The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said its facilitated the handover of the three lecturers of the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) and 10 women from Boko Haram insurgents to security operatives.
The university lecturers were abducted while conducting oil prospective in the Lake Chad area, while the 10women were abducted along Damboa Road when their convoy was carrying the body of a dead police personnel home for burial.
The lecturers were part of a team of consultants engaged by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for oil prospecting in Kukawa area of Lake Chad, northern Borno.
They unexpectedly ran into a Boko Haram ambush while returning to Maiduguri with security escorts including Civilian JTF at Magumeri road and were subsequently overpowered and abducted. Some of their colleagues were killed during the abduction.
ICRC deputy regional director for Africa, Patrick Youssef said in a statement that the ICRC was contacted to play the role.
He said: ““We are so pleased that these 13 people are free and will be able to see their families again,”.
““The ICRC was not involved in any negotiations that led to the handover of the 13 people. The armed opposition handed the 13 people over to ICRC representatives who transported them to Nigerian authorities.”
“This action was similar to what the ICRC did in October 2016 and May 2017, when we transported the released Chibok girls to Nigerian officials,” Youssef said.
“There are many people missing or being held against their will due to the conflict. This creates untold trauma and suffering, including for families across the Lake Chad region who must live with the daily uncertainty and anguish of not knowing the fate or whereabouts of their loved ones. We hope that these people, too, will get to return to their families soon.”
The ICRC remains ready to provide similar humanitarian services in the future when asked by relevant parties to the conflict”.
Presidential Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mallam Garba Shehu, while confirming the release of the abductees said:: “Their release followed a series of negotiations as directed by President Buhari and was facilitated by the International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC.
“In expectation of their being brought to the DSS headquarters, a team of doctors and psychologists has been placed on standby. The rescued persons may be presented to the President and thereafter released to their families, if there are no issues of security or medical concerns.
“The President, who got step by step progress reports on the lengthy negotiations while they took place, received the good news with a lot of happiness. He commended all those who in one way or the other helped in making the release possible.
“He then urged the DSS and the Nigerian Army to intensify efforts to bring home the remaining Chibok Girls still in the custody of the terrorists.”
The Director-General, Malam Lawal Daura, assured the President that they were working hard to bring home the remaining girls and, as soon as possible, bring the Chibok Girls saga to an end.