Friday, 22 September, 2017

Up to 50 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram released - Nigerian official

Saul Franklin | 07 May, 2017, 13:20

Eighty-two girls kidnapped by Boko Haram have been released, Nigerian authorities have said.

Family members say they are eagerly awaiting a list of names and "our hopes and expectations are high".

Almost 200 of the schoolgirls had remained captive before this release.

"These 21 released girls are supposed to be talebearers to tell the Nigerian government that this faction of Boko Haram has 83 more Chibok girls", Shehu told Reuters, adding that, "the faction said it is ready to negotiate if the government is willing to sit down with them".

They are expected to meet Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday in the country's capital Abuja.

Despite the army saying the insurgency is on the run, large parts of the northeast, particularly in Borno state, remain under threat from the militants, and suicide bombings and gun attacks have increased in the region since the end of the rainy season late a year ago.

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Switzerland and the International Committee of the Red Cross helped secure the 82 girls in "lengthy negotiations", the presidency said on its Twitter account.

The latest announcement means 113 girls remain unaccounted for. The number could not be independently confirmed by The Associated Press.

January 5, 2017: Nigeria's army says soldiers find one of the schoolgirls wandering in the bush near the forest stronghold.

More than 200 schools girls were seized by armed men who stormed their dormitories on the night of April 14, 2014, at the Girls Secondary School in Chibok. Human rights advocates believe others could be among the young girls who have been used to carry out suicide bombing attacks. "Their life in captivity has been one that depicts suffering, it depicts the fact that they have been starved, abused, and as we have seen before some of those girls have come back with children, and some of them have also come back with news of how they have been sexually abused".

A Nigerian government spokesman said a statement would be released soon giving exact details of the girls' release. He told Reuters then that the government was already negotiating with a Boko Haram splinter group for the release of more girls.

At the three-year anniversary of the kidnapping in April, the government said the latest negotiations had "gone quite far" but faced challenges.

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