•Perth man Stephen Davis, came close to rescuing at least 60 of the 270 schoolgirls after months of negotiating with terror group Boko Haram
•The group wants to impose Sharia law across Nigeria
•The rescue plan was sabotaged by a second rebel group who kidnapped the girls so they could claim the monetary reward for their return
•Only four girls have managed to escape the terrorists so far through the help of a young man who was also formerly kidnapped by the group
•The girls are believed to be held in several camps by different groups
An Australian man who came close to rescuing the 270 kidnapped Nigerian school girls from the terrorist group Boko Haram, has revealed information about the dangerous politics that dominate the area.
Stephen Davis, who moved back to Perth from London last year, told the ABC he was only 15 minutes away from retrieving 60 of the kidnapped girls from rebel clutches after securing them through negotiations, when they were snatched by a second rebel group.
The 63-year-old former Canon Emeritus at Coventry Cathedral in the UK who has extensive contacts with African terrorist groups, had been negotiating with Boko Haram commanders for some time before they agreed to release the girls.
The girls were taken in a raid on their school in Chibok, in Nigeria’s north-east, by the violent group who want to impose Sharia law on the country.
Mr Davis was asked to come to Nigeria by the country’s president for his hostage negotiation expertise after previously brokering a truce between violent rebels and the government in the Niger Delta in 2004, when he was working for the company Shell.
‘I made a few phone calls to the Boko Haram commanders and they confirmed they were in possession of the girls,’ Mr Davis told ABC’s Radio National.
‘They told me they’d be prepared to release some as a goodwill gesture towards a peace deal with the government, so I went to Nigeria on the basis of being able to secure their release.’
During the four month stint, Mr Davis had told Daily Mail Australia that he was ‘encouraged by the progress’ being made, saying ‘This is a long process of building trust on both sides’.
‘There are several groups to deal with as the girls are held in several camps. This makes any thought of a rescue highly improbable. To attempt to rescue one group would only endanger the others,’ Mr Davis said.
But he added: ‘Every day there is the possibility of the release of the girls.’
Upon negotiating strict conditions for the girls’ release, Mr Davis revealed that the rescue mission was sabotaged by another group who hoped to cash in on the monetary reward being offered by Nigerian police for their retrieval.
We travelled for four-and-a-half hours to reach them, but 15 minutes before we arrived they were kidnapped again by another group who wanted to cash in on a reward,’ Mr Davis told the ABC.The girls ended up back with their original captors.
However Mr Davis discovered that there was hope amongst the despair. He revealed that four of the kidnapped girls managed to successfully escape their captors and meet their families with the help of a young man who was formerly kidnapped by the same group.
A mobile phone that had been hidden in the bra of one of the girls helped them contact their parents and receive directions to cross the border from Cameroon back to Nigeria.
Mr Davis managed to smuggle footage of the escapees out of Nigeria in which they detail the torture they were subject to, including daily rape, the ABC revealed.
But the devout Christian has shared that he does not believe the kidnappings will end through such negotiations.
He has instead insisted that sponsors of the terrorist group –mainly Nigerian politicians – must cease.