Boko Haram has freed 82 schoolgirls kidnapped from their school hostel in Chibok town, Borno State. They were among the 276 kidnapped by the terror group in 2014.
A military and a civilian militia source in Banki, near the border with Cameroon, said “at least 80” girls were brought to the town late afternoon on Saturday.
“The girls are now lodged in the military barracks and will be flown to (the Borno state capital) Maiduguri tomorrow (Sunday),” said the military source.
Enoch Mark, a pastor whose two daughters were among those kidnapped, said he was told of the release by the Bring Back Our Girls pressure group and an official in Maiduguri.
He added: “This is good news to us. We have been waiting for this day. We hope the remaining girls will soon be released.”
Bring Back Our Girls said it was awaiting an official statement but added: “Our hopes and expectations are high as we look forward to this news being true and confirmed.”
A senator who was privy to “credible” negotiations between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram said only the Nigerian government could ascertain the release of the girls.
“The only authority to confirm the release of the Chibok girls is the Federal government. However, credible negotiations took place,” Senator Shehu Sani (APC-Kaduna Central) said.
“Chibok girls shall be free Insha Allah,” Sani tweeted hours before the news of the girls being freed broke.
About 276 female students were kidnapped by Boko Haram from the Government Girls Secondary School on April 14, 2014. Fifty-seven of the girls escaped while being taken away while three others were found or rescued by the military.
On October 13, 2016, 21 girls were freed after the Swiss government and international Committee of Red Cross brokered a deal between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government.
The Nigerian government said in April it was collaborating with “foreign entities” to negotiate for the release of the remaining girls.“Talks are ongoing through other means with the help of some foreign entities to free more schoolgirls,” presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said during an interview with BBC Hausa.
“These talks are going on with the help of some countries. You can recall the 21 schoolgirls were freed with the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Swiss government officials who got involved in the negotiations. These two have not withdrawn their support in the negotiations,” Shehu said.
“There are also other countries that are lending support to the negotiations by being involved in the talks,” Shehu added.
Courtesy: Guardian Nigeria