The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Monday, May 8, 2017 said it was not involved in the negotiation that led to the release of 82 Chibok schoolgirls after three years in Boko Haram captivity.
Aleksandra Mosimann, ICRC’s communication coordinator, disclosed this in an interview with NAN in Abuja.
Mosimann said ICRC acted as a neutral intermediary based on the agreement of the two parties involved as specified in its mandate.
“We were not involved in the negotiation for their release, as negotiations often imply a political process which is contrary to the political and neutral nature of ICRC work,” she said.
“I can confirm that in the early hours of Sunday May 7, the ICRC only transferred 82 Chibok girls from the armed opposition to the government of Nigeria.
“We transferred the girls with the agreement of both parties involved.
“This however means the girls were handed over to us by the armed opposition group that had held them and we handed them over to the military.”
Mosimann also recalled that in October 2016, ICRC transferred 21Chibok girls and a baby released from armed opposition to Nigerian authorities, but was not part of the negotiation that led to their release.
She said the ICRC role of a neutral intermediary was widely recognised worldwide, adding that the organisation had performed such roles in other countries such as Colombia and Sudan, among others.
“The neutral intermediary by ICRC is an indication of the trust that parties to the conflict place on us,’’ Mosimann said.