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Nigeria | Boko Haram Release 82 More Chibok Schoolgirls after Negotiations

The scene at an earlier release of Chibok girls |Al Jazeera Photo The scene at an earlier release of Chibok girls |Al Jazeera Photo
ABUJA, Nigeria, May 7, 2017 - In keeping faith with its promise, the President Muhammadu Buhari government, saturday, secured the release of additional 82 Chibok girls, bringing the number of abducted Chibok girls that the administration has been able to secure their release since coming to office in 2015 to 106.

Yesterday's release was the outcome of the ongoing negotiations with the Boko Haram leadership on the release of the girls captured since April 2014.

Although full details of the terms of release were not out as at the time of filing this report, a statement last night by the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said that the girls were released in exchange for some Boko Haram suspects who were hitherto held by authorities.

Shehu who noted that President Buhari was pleased to announce the release of the girls said the president had expressed his gratitude to security agencies, the military, the government of Switzerland, the Red Cross, local and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for their fruitful negotiations.

He also disclosed that the freed girls would be formally received by Buhari in Abuja today (Sunday).

He added that the release was a follow-up to the earlier freedom of 21 girls in October last year, after which he said the president tasked security agencies to sustain their efforts until all the girls were freed and reunited with their families.

He said the president had since then been receiving briefings from the Director-General of Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, on progress of the negotiations.

The statement reads: "The President is pleased to announce that negotiations to release more of the Chibok Girls have born fruits with the release of 82 more Girls today. After months of patient negotiations, our security agencies have taken back these abducted girls in exchange for some Boko Haram suspects held by the authorities.

"The Girls are due tomorrow in Abuja to be received by the President. The President expressed his deep gratitude to security agencies, the military, the government of Switzerland, the Red Cross, local and international NGOs for the success of this operation.

"It may be recalled that when the first batch of 21 Girls were released in October last year, the President directed the security agencies to continue in earnest until all the Chibok Girls have been released and reunited with their families. The President has been receiving full reports from the Director-General of the State Security Services at each stage of the operation."

Apart from the statement issued last night by the state House, no other government official was willing to give additional information or agreed to be quoted. THISDAY however gathered that upon their release, the girls were initially camped in Banki town in the North East part of the country, where they were awaiting further instructions before they were air-lifted to another location, for debriefing and compulsory medical checkup.

There were also indication that the processes leading to the release of the 82 girls were kept secret as several senior government officials contacted by THISDAY when the news broke could not confirm the release of the girls.

  • Countries: Africa

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