By Abraham Olatokunbo
Borno State Government on Thursday got delivery of a female corps member, Halima Umar, abducted by Boko Haram since January, this year.
The corps member, an indigene of the state from Gwoza, was handed over to Borno State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Usman Kadafur, by the trio of GOC 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, Borno State Commissioner of Police and Director, Directorate of State Security (Borno), Brig. Gen. Abdulmalik Biu, Mohammed Aliyu and Muritala Mamman, respectively.
It was learnt that Umar’s freedom came as a result of a coordinated engagement involving key stakeholders, it was also an outcome of a preliminary negotiation involving the state government, the Kalthum Foundation for Peace, a non-governmental organisation with intermediary negotiation with the leadership of the terrorist group handled by a respected investigative journalist.
Kadafur, said the step was in line with the state government’s desire to work with strategic partners to open lines of communication with the insurgents as a means of freeing several non-combatant captives of the terrorist groups.
He revealed that the strategic interventionist team was empaneled to use every necessary tools and good spirited individuals to engage the insurgents in non-combative ways as a means of de-escalation framework that will eventually result in freeing more captives and safe return of displaced persons in the state.
He noted that the insurgents released Umar as a sign of goodwill to commit to a new process of resolving the conflicts in the region.
He revealed that the state government, the military, the DSS played vital roles deploying professional field experience and strategic cover for the process, promising that the state government shall continually bring the media up to speed as may be necessary.
He said: “We, as a government, are committed to working with the Federal organs of security as well as non-governmental organisations and well meaning citizens to pursue with vigour the safe return of captives, displaced persons and vulnerable population of our great state”.