Boko Haram have freed three University of Maiduguri lecturers and 10 women it kidnapped when it ambushed a convoy of military, police and oil workers on Damboa Road, near Maiduguri last year.
The International Committee of the Red Cross facilitated the hand-over of the freed persons, after a series of negotiations directed by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Presidency said.
All 13 freed persons have been handed over to the Department of State Services and are on their way to the nation’s capital Abuja with the assistance of Nigerian Army and the Air Force. A team of doctors and psychologists are on standby at the DSS headquarters to examine them.
All 13 persons were part of the oil exploration team ambushed by Boko Haram on Tuesday, July 25, 2015.
The ICRC said in a statement that those freed were “10 women police officers and three university professors”.
“We are so pleased that these 13 people are free and will be able to see their families again,” the ICRC’s Deputy Regional Director for Africa, Patrick Youssef, said.
Although it facilitated the handover of the freed persons, the ICRC said it was not involved in the negotiations that led to their release.
“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 we transported the released “Chibok girls” to Nigerian officials.”
Mr Youssef hopes that the many people “missing or being held against their will due to the conflict” in the North East, a development which has created “untold trauma and suffering” will get to return to their families soon.
The ambush on the oil convoy and abduction of the lecturers and security personnel that were part of the on July 25, 2017, was a deadly one.
More than 20 soldiers providing security for the convoy were killed in the process.
Three days after the attack, Boko Haram released a video purportedly showing three of those abducted.
The men who said they were in the employ of the University of Maiduguri, appealed to the government for help.
Two of the men said they were lecturers in the Geology Department of the University and gave their names as Yusuf Ibrahim and Dr Solomon N. Yusuf. The third man identified himself as Haruna, adding that he was a driver with the university.