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Zulum in Cairo, discusses Boko Haram at high- level forum on Africa

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.There are still over 20 missing Chibok girls in Sambisa forest –Rescued victims

 

 

AHMED MARI, Maiduguri

 

On invitation, Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, is currently in Egypt where he addressed participants at the third edition of Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development which held on Tuesday, in Cairo.

The Aswan Forum was launched in February 2019 by the Egyptian Government “in its capacity as the Chairman of the African Union (AU) and Champion of Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD) in Africa”.

The forum which holds annually in Egypt “is a high-level multi-stakeholder platform that brings heads of states, leaders from national governments, international and regional organizations, financial institutions, private sector and civil society, together with visionaries, scholars and prominent experts for a context-specific, action-oriented and forward-looking discussion on the opportunities as well as the threats and challenges facing the (African) continent” and identifying solutions to African problems.

This year’s forum had the theme: “Africa in an Era of Cascading Risks and Climate Vulnerability: Pathways for a Peaceful, Resilient, and Sustainable Continent.”

The forum was attended by participants from African countries and international development partners from other parts of the world.

United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, and the President of Egypt, Abdu Fattah El-Sisi participated virtually.

The forum discussed a number of Africa’s priorities, including enhancing cooperation to combat terrorism, overcoming the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, achieving food security, and advancing post-conflict reconstruction and development efforts.

In his presentation, titled “Pathways for a peaceful, resilient and sustainable Borno State and environs” Professor Babagana Zulum discussed Borno’s experiences in over 12 years of battling with insurgency highlighting impact of the crisis, responses and ongoing rebuilding efforts as well as prospects for peace recovery.

 

Zulum, amongst other things, highlighted issues related to effective integrated model in response to a wave of defection by terrorists, reinforcing peace-building and development in Borno’s 10 points agenda, balancing between peace and justice and ensuring appropriate linkages between the federal based rehabilitation efforts and the state-led rehabilitation, reconciliation and reintegration currently taking place.

 

Before Tuesday’s presentation, Governor Zulum, on Monday, received a research paper titled “Advancing Holistic and Comprehensive Efforts to Confront Africa’s Growing Terrorism Challenge: A Nigerian Case Study on Developing Sustainable Pathways Out of Extremism for Individuals Formerly Associated with Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa Province”.

 

The report was presented to the Governor by Cairo International Centre for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping & Peace-building (CCCPA).

 

The report is expected to help Borno’s approach in ongoing peace-building efforts which seek to end violent activities by Boko Haram and ISWAP.

 

Governor Zulum traveled to Egypt alongside officials involved with Borno’s ongoing Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration activities in response to mass surrender by Boko Haram and ISWAP fighters who yielded to the Government’s invitation for peace.

 

The officials in Zulum’s delegation included a Commissioner-designate, Zuwaira Gambo, Special Adviser Security, Brigadier General Abdullahi Ishaq (rtid) and Special Adviser on Religious Affairs, Sheikh Modu Mustapha.

 

 

 

Meanwhile, Two more two abducted Chibok school girls, Hauwa Joseph and Mary Dauda have been rescued by the troops of the Northeast Operation Hadin Kai, eight years after their abduction by members of Boko Haram insurgents.

 

It would be recalled that over 200 school girls were abducted by the members of Boko Haram insurgents at Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok Borno state on 14th April, 2014.

 

Speaking to newsmen shortly after they were presented to journalists by the Theatre Commander Operation Hadin Kai, Northeast, Major General Christopher Musa at the Theater Headquarters, Maimakari Cantonment, Maiduguri yesterday, one of the rescued Chibok girls, Mary Dauda  said they are  still over 20 Chibok school girls in the captivity of the insurgents in  Sambiza forest, Gasurwa camp, Njimiya and Mandara mountain and other enclaves of Boko Haram.

 

She lamented that some of them were killed during military jets on clearing  missions on the insurgents enclaves.

 

Narrating her ordeal, Mary Dauda said when they were kidnapped and brought to the Sambisa  forest they were asked to embrace Islam and most of those that embraced Islam were released during the agreement  between Federal Government and the insurgents.

 

Dauda said, “those of us that refused to embrace Islam were turned to domestic slaves, where we sweep, cook, fetch water, wash clothes and plates among others domestic works for the insurgents. They later forced us to embraced Islam and  married us out to their members were I got married to the father of my about two-year-old  child.”

 

Mary Dauda said she had to take permission that  she was going to visit her sister at the Bayan Dutse before she was allowed to go out, stressing that she  trekked from Sambisa to Gava and other places before getting to Ngoshe and her eventual  rescue by the military.

 

Both Hauwa Joseph and Mary Dauda expressed gratitude to the military for rescuing them after spending eight years in the captivity of the insurgents.

 

Presenting Mary Dauda and Hauwa Joseph to the newsmen  at the headquarters, Northeast Operation Hadin Kai , Maimalari cantonment, Maiduguri yesterday, Theatre Commander, Major General Christopher Musa said the duo were rescued with their babies between 1 to 3  years as a result of the massive military operations in Sambisa Forest, Mandara mountain and the Lake Chad area.

 

While assuring that the remaining abducted school girls will be rescued, General Musa said “we are lucky to have been able to recover two of the Chibok girls we are happy at least they are looking more healthier, it has been more traumatic. But we are happy and glad that this ones are out, we are putting in more effort to ensure that we get more of them in the general area ”.

“Apart from rescuing these two Chibok girls with their children, we have also decimated dozens of terrorists who have been hiding in the Sambisa forest, especially the Timbuktu Triangle during our fighting patrols, he stated.

 

He further explained that “as  the rainy season set in and a lot of farmers are willing to go to their farms, we will work tirelessly to provide safety for our farmers in their farming activities, but we want to appeal that the farmers should be wary of some planted Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) by terrorists in some areas, even though, the military is doing everything possible to clear most of the places suspected to have unexploded IEDs planted by terrorists in the region.

 

“I want to also appeal to the Federal and State Government and other philantrophic organisations to assist farmers with agricultural inputs or farming tools to boost the morale of the teeming farmers who have since relocated to their liberated communities, he added.

 

Shedding more light on their rescue, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division of the  Nigerian Army, Major General Waidi Shaibu said Hauwa Joseph  who was on serial number 18 was rescued with her child on the 12th June, 2022 in Bama local government area, while Mary Dauda who was on serial number 46 was rescued with her child on 14th June same year during troops’ fighting patrol  Ngishe all in the Division Area of Responsibility.

 

General Shaibu said, all the girls and their children have undergone proper medical check- up and treatment, stressing that they would be handed over  to the appropriate authorities before they are reunited with their families.

 

 

 

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