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  1. #1
    Donor Sadie's Avatar
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    Freedom for the World’s Most Famous Hostages Came at a Heavy Price

    By Joe Parkinson and Drew Hinshaw | Photographs by Glenna Gordon for The Wall Street Journal
    Updated Dec. 24, 2017 9:47 a.m. ET

    The convoy of Land Cruisers rattled down a dusty road near Nigeria’s border with Cameroon, plunging into the remote forest stronghold controlled by fighters from Boko Haram. If everything went to plan, they would arrive at the rendezvous point before 4 p.m.

    Inside the trucks sat five captured fighters, freshly extracted from prison, the first piece of the government’s proposed bargain. In a separate vehicle, according to people involved in the deal, a security detail guarded Nigeria’s principal concession to the Islamist terror group, a black duffel bag containing €2 million in plastic-wrapped cash.

    The journey had started under a drizzling rain in a town torched by insurgents and bombed by jets during a decade of war. Lookouts were charting their progress, the passengers assumed, and the road was notorious for improvised explosives. One misstep could derail months of planning.

    The two men most responsible for engineering this moment had split up that afternoon. For nearly three years, they had roamed the world together, organizing secret talks with Boko Haram. One of them was Zannah Mustapha, a former Nigerian barrister who had founded a school for orphans. He had listened to endless diatribes and broken up fights at the negotiating table. He had mourned when other deals collapsed in a hail of gunfire.

    The other man was a Swiss government agent who had served as Mustapha’s partner and mentor during the talks. He monitored the scene from a staging ground a few kilometers behind. The man’s identity was such a closely guarded secret that even high-ranking Nigerians didn’t know his full name. As an operative for the Human Security Division, a little-known cog in Switzerland’s diplomatic machine, he preferred it that way.

    Not far away, 82 young women cloaked in black veils stumbled through the tall grass toward the rendezvous point, flanked by masked militants with guns. Hours earlier, their captors had ordered them to pack their belongings and start walking. They weren’t told where. They had no idea they were the world’s most famous hostages.

    Many of the girls did not survive or were not released. I look into the girls faces and can't imagine the horrors that they went through on a daily basis. Rape, torture, beatings... It is hard to read, but very thorough and important.
    The left is often not correct, the right is often not right, and we the people are often wronged.

  2. #2
    Donor crone's Avatar
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    I find myself wanting to reach into my computer screen and give each one of those women a hug. Such a horrendous world for such young and innocent women.

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