Falmata Abubakar, one of the girls freed from the Government Girls Science and Technical College Dapchi, is photographed after her release by Islamist Terrorist in Dapchi, Nigeria, Wednesday March. 21, 2018. Witnesses say Boko Haram militants have returned an unknown number of the 110 girls who were abducted from their Nigeria school a month ago. (AP Photo/Jossy Ola)

Witnesses: Boko Haram returns Nigerian kidnapped schoolgirls

Witnesses say Boko Haram militants have returned an unknown number of the 110 girls who were abducted from their Nigeria school a month ago.

Boko Haram extremists returned almost all of the 110 girls abducted from their Nigeria boarding school a month ago with an ominous warning, witnesses said Wednesday.

The fighters rolled into Dapchi around 2 a.m. in nine vehicles and the girls were left in the centre of town. As terrified residents emerged from their homes, the extremists said “this is a warning to you all,” resident Ba’ana Musa told The Associated Press.

“We did it out of pity. And don’t ever put your daughters in school again,” the extremists said. Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language.

Nigeria’s government said 101 of the 110 schoolgirls, most of them Muslim, had been confirmed freed and that the number “would be updated after the remaining ones have been documented.”

“No ransoms were paid,” the information minister, Lai Mohammed, said in a statement. The girls were released “through back-channel efforts and with the help of some friends of the country, and it was unconditional.”

Family members were en route to the town Wednesday morning.

“When I get there we will do a head count to see if all of them have been released,” said Bashir Manzo, whose 16-year-old daughter was among those kidnapped during the Feb. 19 attack.

Manzo confirmed that his daughter was among those freed.

“As I speak to you there is jubilation in Dapchi,” he said.

The mass abduction and the government response brought back painful memories of the 2014 attack on a boarding school in Chibok. Boko Haram militants abducted 276 girls, and about 100 of them have never returned. Some girls were forced to marry their captors, and many had children fathered by the militants.

Related: Nigeria presidency releases names of 82 freed Chibok girls

The latest mass abduction is thought to have been carried out by a Boko Haram splinter group aligned with the Islamic State, one that has criticized the leader of the main Boko Haram organization for targeting civilians and has focused instead on military and Western targets.

Residents in Dapchi fled on Wednesday morning upon hearing that Boko Haram vehicles were headed toward the town.

“We fled but, from our hiding, we could see them and surprisingly, we saw our girls getting out of the vehicles,” Umar Hassan told the AP.

“They assembled the girls and talked to them for some few minutes and left without any confrontation,” said another resident, Kachallah Musa.

The girls were at the general hospital in Dapchi “and the counsellors are there with them,” the information minister told reporters. As with the released Chibok schoolgirls, “they will be quarantined and be counselled before they go back to their schools.”

Their release came a day after an Amnesty International report accused the Nigerian military of failing to heed several warnings of the imminent attack last month. The military has called the report an “outright falsehood.”

Nigeria’s government celebrated the girls’ release. “GREAT NEWS from Dapchi, Yobe State. Thank God for the safe return of our sisters. Alhamdulillah!” an aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, Bashir Ahmad, said on Twitter.

Related: Nigeria says 15 suspected Boko Haram fighters shot dead

___

Associated Press writers Ibrahim Abdulaziz in Yola, Nigeria; Sam Olukoya in Lagos and Bashir Adigun in Abuja, Nigeria contributed.

Haruna Umar And Ismail Alfa Abdulrahim, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Two Nuxalk artists awarded YVR Art Foundation scholarships

Several Nuxalk artists have won the award, some more than once

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

Concerns over democracy as Senate committee votes to nix oil tanker ban

Critics of the Senate’s recommendation to kill Bill C-48 say it goes against popular will

Open casting call issued for Trevor Mack’s first feature-length film

All Indigenous actors, preferably local Chilcotin people, are needed for Portraits From A Fire’s cast

New ferry to B.C.’s central coast sets sail, a year late and $20M over budget

Northern Sea Wolf will cost $76 million when it hits the waters in June

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

Baby boom seniors putting pressure on B.C. long-term care: report

B.C. leads Canada in growth of dementia, dependence on care

UPDATED: B.C. man says he’ll take People’s Party lawsuit as far as he can

Federal judge shut down Satinder Dhillon’s ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of PPC name in byelection

Canada stripping citizenship from Chinese man over alleged marriage fraud

The move comes amid severely strained relations between Ottawa and Beijing

Nevada court orders former Vancouver man to pay back $21.7M to investors

The commission says Michael Lathigee committed fraud over a decade ago

Most Read