Thursday, 25 May, 2017

Scores of kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls released by Boko Haram

Free at last! Boko Haram releases 83 kidnapped schoolgirls Freed Chibok girls arrive in Abuja
Kenny Thornton | 20 May, 2017, 07:09

Nigerian girls protest against the abduction of Chibok school girls by Boko Haram militants at the Ministry of Education in Abuja, Nigeria, April 14, 2015.

Eighty-two schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants in 2014, were freed Saturday in exchange for the release of suspected militants, according to a statement from the Nigerian president's office.

ICRC had played a similar role a year ago October, when Nigeria got the first batch of 21 Chibok girls released.

He said the current administration was averse to propaganda, adding that it was diligently working hard to put the country on the path of growth and development.

A first group of 21 girls were released in October as Nigeria announced it had begun negotiations with the extremist group.

The government secured the release with mediation by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The release follows negotiations with the terror group, which would see the release of some militants suspects held by authorities.

"Unfortunately, when they were brought back, the Federal Government didn't give us access and we said that was okay, all we wanted was access between the girls and their parents".

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The party hailed the girls for their bravery "having survived the very harrowing experiences in the past three years, and their parents and families who have endured the nervy and traumatic wait for their children".

For more than two years after the kidnapping there was no sign of the missing girls but the discovery of one of them with a baby in May last year fuelled hope.

It was unclear if numerous parents in the remote northeastern town of Chibok had seen the list of names or if any would travel the almost 900 kilometers (560 miles) to the capital of Abuja to see their daughters who were abducted by the Boko Haram militant group.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, whose fight to create a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria has left at least 20,000 dead since 2009, claimed in a video message that they had converted to Islam.

Chibok school girls recently freed from Boko Haram captivity are seen in Abuja, Nigeria, Sunday, May 7, 2017. "Yes, 82 girls are freed and they are due to fly to Abuja from Banki town in Borno State", the source said.

Experts also believe that Boko Haram also forces its kidnap victims into becoming suicide bombers.

The audacious kidnapping brought the insurgency to world attention, triggering global outrage that galvanised support from the former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and Hollywood stars.

In May 2016, Amina Ali escaped with a baby and another girl was rescued few months later.

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