Lawal Daura, director-general of the Department of State Services (DSS), says negotiating with Boko Haram was the “safest” means of rescuing the three abducted lecturers of the University of Maiduguri and 10 women from captivity.
The woman and lecturers were abducted by Boko Haram insurgents in June and July, respectively.
The women were abducted from a police convoy in Borno state while going for a burial and the lecturers were taken hostage while on oil exploration in the Lake Chad basin.
Speaking at a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and the freed captives, Daura said any attempt to rescue the victims forcefully could have endangered their lives.
The DSS DG said the negotiation process was slow because they had to deal two groups in different locations.
“We choose the path of negotiation because it was considered as the safest because any forceful attempt to rescue the victims could endanger their lives,” he said.
“These negotiations took several months and the Department of State Services with the support of the external elements of the group in diaspora and support from friendly countries and liaising with International Community of the Red Cross, made the rescue possible.
“The process was slow due to the problem of dealing with two different groups based in different locations at the same time. In addition, the negotiations took place mostly outside the country, though subsequently finalised in the theater of operations.
“The negotiations were mainly centred on an attempt at conflict mitigation which include the fate of arrested members of the insurgent groups especially, accepting to free by government those found not to be culpable in any criminal action.
“Also, possible cessation of hostilities especially the attacks with IEDs on innocent civilians, worship centers, schools and other public places in return for temporary stoppage of air strikes by helicopter gunships.”