The International Committee of the Red Cross on Sunday explained how it facilitated the hand over from Boko Haram to the Nigerian military of 10 women police officers and three university professors.
The operation in North East, with the ICRC acting as a neutral intermediary, was carried out at the request of the parties to the ongoing armed conflict – Boko Haram and the Federal Government, with the Department of State Services as representative.
“We are so pleased that these 13 people are free and will be able to see their families again,” said Patrick Youssef, the Deputy Regional Director for Africa of the ICRC.
The statement said the ICRC was not involved in any negotiations that led to the handover of the 13 people, adding that the armed opposition handed the 13 people over to ICRC representatives who transported them to Nigerian authorities.
It said this action was similar to what the ICRC did in October 2016 and May 2017 when it transported the released Chibok girls to Nigerian officials.
“There are many people missing or being held against their will due to the conflict,” said Youssef. “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 said it remains ready to provide similar humanitarian services in the future when asked by relevant parties to the conflict.