Chibok campaign says 113 girls remain missing

In Focus Boko Haram not only problem for president Buhari
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari
Author

08 May, 2017

Five Boko Haram commanders were released in exchange for the freedom of the 82 girls, a Nigerian government official said.

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday night met with the 82 schoolgirls recently freed by Boko Haram, assuring them of the government's commitment to their continuous education and welfare.

The rehabilitation process has previously been criticised, mainly for keeping the girls in Abuja, around 560 miles from their families in Chibok. The negotiators never gave up, the negotiators will continue for the next set after the one secured are made public.

But the discovery of one of the girls with a baby in May 2016 fuelled hopes for their safety, with a further two girls found in later months and a group released in October.

The government would now look to securing the remaining abducted girls, Sani added.

This is the largest negotiated release so far of the almost 300 girls whose abduction in 2014 highlighted the threat of Nigeria's homegrown extremists who are linked to the Islamic State group.

The ICRC tweet shows a line of girls wearing shirts with the Red Cross logo walking across a runway to a waiting helicopter.

In October, 21 of the girls were released following negotiations brokered by the Swiss government, the Red Cross and some local intermediaries.

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The girls were received behind closed doors by the President as only Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Cameraman and the President's Personal Photographer, Bayo Omoboriowo were allowed in. Nigeria's government says another 83 girls would be released "very soon".

Some relatives did not live long enough to see their daughters released.

Nigerians gathered in front of newsstands Monday looking at the names of freed schoolgirls in local papers. Numerous captive girls, majority Christians, were forced to marry their captors and give birth to children in remote forest hideouts without knowing if they would see their parents again.

The April 2014 abduction by Boko Haram brought the extremist group's rampage in northern Nigeria to world attention and, for families of the schoolgirls, began years marked with heartbreak. It is feared that other girls were strapped with explosives and sent on missions as suicide bombers.

Boko Haram's leader Abubakar Shekau claimed in a video message that they had converted to Islam.

Though Boko Haram has abducted thousands of people during its eight-year insurgency that has spilled across Nigeria's borders, the Chibok mass kidnapping horrified the world and brought the extremist group global attention.

It was not immediately clear whether the newly freed girls would join them. Its insurgency has killed more than 20,000 people and driven 2.6 million from their homes, with millions facing starvation.

Buhari late a year ago announced Boko Haram had been "crushed", but the group continues to carry out attacks in northern Nigeria and neighboring countries.


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