Envoy Negotiating with Boko Haram Expresses 'Optimism' for Kidnapped Nigerian Girls' Return

( [email protected] ) Jun 06, 2014 12:30 AM EDT
Dr. Stephen Davis, an Anglican cleric who is representing Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to Boko Haram in an attempt to retrieve captured Nigerian girls, says he is optimistic about the girl's safe return
The #BringBackOurGirls campaign has gathered a tremendous following on social media (AP)

The Australian cleric appointed as the Nigerian President's representative in the negotiations with Boko Haram says he is confident they will succeed in retrieving the 200 girls kidnapped by the terrorist group.

Dr. Stephen Davis, an Anglican cleric, told media that while is he disappointed that his involvement was leaked last week, he is hopeful it will not affect the girl's release.

Last week, a new video surfaced showing some of the girls who were taken by Boko Haram from a school in Chibok, Borno state. The video, which has not yet been released to the public, was taken in mid May by Nigerian journalist Ahmad Salkida to prove that the girls are still alive.

According to the Daily Mail, the video shows several girls wearing hijabs speaking in front of a white sheet set up between two trees. While the girls appear to be healthy, the Daily Mail reports that several are ill and one appears to have a broken wrist.

"I never expected to suffer like this in my life," says one girl.

"My family will be so worried," says another.

Several others girls stated that they were taken by force and they were hungry.

 "In the video, eight girls-dressed in their home-made school uniforms of pale blue gingham-plead for release as they stand courageously in front of the camera. They are clearly scared, upset, and trying to be brave," reveals the news report.

Australian Anglican cleric, Dr. Stephen Davis, has been secretly working as Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan's representative in negotiating with Boko Haram for the past month. He has been working with Aisha Wakil, a Muslim convert with known connections to the terrorist group. According to reports, Davis has visited Nigeria multiple times to meet with Boko Haram leaders.

"The vast majority of the Chibok girls are not being held in Nigeria. They are in camps across the Nigerian border in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. I say the 'vast majority' as I know a small group was confirmed to me to be in Nigeria last week when we sought to have them released," Davis told British Channel 4 on Monday.

Davis told Channel 4 his team had "come within a whisker" of negotiating a release within the past month, yet each deal was ruined at the last moment. He, and others Channel 4 stated that that powerful figures with "vested interests" have sought to sabotage a deal.

Earlier this week, the Nigerian media reported that several members of the country's military had been accused of helping Boko Haram, and had been found guilty of supplying arms and information to the group. However, Nigerian army spokesman Major General Chris Olukolade said the reports were false.

Over the weekend, Boko Haram killed dozens of Christians in a church compound located in Attagara village near the Cameroon border into a church compound before opening fire on them, BBC News reports.

In a report released by the Open Doors research team on Tuesday, Nigeria is the No. 1 country on the World Watch Top 10 Violence List and also has had more martyrs (2,073) than any other nation between Nov. 1, 2012, and March 31, 2014.