Backgrounder: A timeline of Nigeria Dapchi girl's abduction, release

ABUJA, March 21 (Xinhua) -- A jubilant crowd welcomed 101 girls of Nigeria's northeastern town of Dapchi back home on Wednesday when they were released by the Boko Haram terror group after over one month in captivity.
A total of 110 schoolgirls were abducted from an all-girl college in Dapchi, located 100 kilometers from Damaturu, capital of the northern Yobe State, on Feb. 19.
The Nigerian government said it paid no ransom to secure the release of the girls.
Below is a timeline of their abduction and release:
SNATCHED FROM SCHOOL
On Feb. 21, two days after their abduction, the incident made the headlines of local and international media.
The Nigerian government initially claimed only 46 students were missing following the attack on the Government Girls Science and Technical College.
The government said some 94 students were earlier noticed to have gone missing after the authorities conducted a headcount at the college and that 48 returned later, having fled the Boko Haram invasion.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on the night of Feb. 21 ordered three members of his cabinet to investigate the attack and directed military and other security agencies to rescue the missing students.
CONTROVERSY OVER MISSING GIRLS
On the same day, the local government in Yobe claimed some of the abducted girls were already rescued and in the safe custody of the military, which turned out to be false information.
On Feb. 22, the governor of Yobe Ibrahim Gaidam said none of the schoolgirls declared missing after the attack was rescued by the military when he visited the college three days after Boko Haram's invasion of the town.
The Nigerian military also debunked the claims that its troops had rescued some of the missing schoolgirls.
Following this controversy, Nigeria's central government said it was not yet sure of the number of the missing girls and pleaded for more time to assess the situation.
On Feb. 23, Buhari said he will be sending more troops and surveillance aircraft to search for the schoolgirls and described the incident as a "national disaster."
On Feb. 24, the Forum of Parents of the Missing Dapchi Girls said there were up to 105 schoolgirls taken away by Boko Haram in the attack, citing a detailed list of missing students.
On Feb. 25, the Nigerian government confirmed that 110 girls were unaccounted for.
Two days later, Nigerian authorities gave a description of each of the 110 missing schoolgirls. It was confirmed that the girls' ages range from 11 to 19 years.
300 CLERICS PRAY FOR GIRLS' RETURN
Amid global outrage on the girls' abduction and the government's efforts to secure their release, local authorities hired at least 300 Muslim clerics to pray for their safe return.
The special prayers were held on a daily basis, and this, according to the authorities, would continue until all the abducted girls return safely.
PROOF OF LIFE
On March 1, a faction of Boko Haram had confirmed that the 110 missing school girls were in its custody.
The Abu Musab Al-Barnawi faction of Boko Haram told a negotiator that the girls were safe, healthy and in good condition.
Al-Barnawi, the leader of that Boko Haram faction, had also promised not to harm the girls.
SAD PARENTS GATHER ON WOMEN'S DAY
Some parents of the schoolgirls gathered in the nation's capital Abuja on March 8 to publicly express sadness.
As the world marked the International Women's Day that day, 17 days after the abduction, the parents staged a peaceful march to remind the Nigerian government of the tragedy that befell their daughters.
BUHARI VISITS GRIEVING DAPCHI PARENTS
On March 14, Buhari visited Dapchi to sympathize with parents of the girls and assured them that the girls would return soon.
He told them the government would bring back the girls through negotiation and not by force.
FREEDOM FOR DAPCHI GIRLS
The Nigerian government on Wednesday confirmed that 101 out of the 110 schoolgirls were released by Boko Haram at about 3 a.m.
Their release, according to the government, was "through back-channel efforts and with the help of some friends of the country." 


Source: http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-03/22/c_137055507.htm

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