Chibok girls released by Boko Haram in swap deal

Claudine Rigal
Mai 20, 2017

Nigeria said on Saturday it had secured the release of 82 girls in exchange for Boko Haram prisoners.

The Federal Government says the incautious statement by a faction of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, criticising the process leading to the release of the 82 Chibok girls further exhibits the party's disdain for human life.

The list was published early Monday after Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari met with the young women before announcing he was leaving for London immediately for medical checkups as fears over his health continue.

"They will face a long and hard process to rebuild their lives after the indescribable horror and trauma they have suffered at the hands of Boko Haram", said Pernille Ironside, acting representative of UNICEF Nigeria.

The commendation came in a statement signed by the Convener of the group and former minister, Oby Ezekwesili on Sunday in Abuja, the nation's capital.

Last month, he said in a radio interview that there were ongoing negotiations involving "some foreign entities" to release the 195 girls believed still held.

"We commend Mr President, the Federal Government and all the other partners for this heartwarming development", she said.

Abuja: In this file image taken from video by Nigeria's Islamic extremist network, shows the alleged missing girls abducted from the northeastern town of Chibok.

One of Boko Haram's captive, released late previous year, cradles the child she conceived after being abducted in 2014. An official told the AP that the girls were located near Banki in the state of Borno.

Boko Haram fighters stormed the Government Girls Secondary School in the remote town of Chibok on the evening of April 14, 2014, and kidnapped 276 girls.

The army has retaken much of the territory initially lost to Boko Haram, but large parts of the northeast, particularly in Borno state, remain under threat from the militants.

A group of 21 Chibok girls was freed in October, and they have been in government care in Abuja for medical attention, trauma counseling and rehabilitation. The brutality of the act sparked a global outcry, with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls sweeping social media and unifying outraged citizens and political leaders alike, including then-first lady Michelle Obama.

Nigeria's presidency released the names of the 82 Chibok schoolgirls newly freed from Boko Haram extremists which parents anxiously scoured to see if their daughters were released three years after their capture.

Enoch Mark, a Christian pastor whose two daughters were among those kidnapped, said of the latest releases: "This is good news to us".

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

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