Responding to today’s release of 101 of the schoolgirls abducted from a school in Dapchi, northern Nigeria by the armed group Boko Haram last month, Amnesty International’s Nigeria Director Osai Ojigho said:
“For the abducted girls who have been returned, and their families, this is a day of huge relief.
“But despite this positive development, four girls from Dapchi are still being held by Boko Haram. Boko Haram must immediately release these girls and all other abductees – including some of the Chibok girls – and end the spate of abductions of civilians which amount to war crimes.
“Moreover, the 101 released girls are currently being held in the government’s custody, further prolonging their ordeal.
“The authorities must immediately release them, and ensure that they are able to return to their families or be provided with an alternative safe option if they so-choose. The authorities must also ensure the girls have access to comprehensive support, including confidential counselling and medical care.
“Furthermore, it remains absolutely vital that the Nigerian government investigates the security failures that lead to the abduction – a fact highlighted by the tragic news that five of the schoolgirls died in captivity.
“The Dapchi abduction must be the catalyst for the government to ensure adequate protection of all schools in northeast Nigeria so that this can never happen again.
“As a first step towards meeting its responsibility of protecting civilians from Boko Haram attacks, the results of the two investigations into the Chibok girls’ abduction in 2014 must be made public.”