Boko Haram releases 82 Chibok girls
“Huge numbers”, the personal assistant to President Buhari, Bashir Ahmad, tweeted late on Saturday. At the time of writing, parents of the kidnapped don’t yet know the identities of the girls who have been set free, so they are all hopeful that their daughters are among this group.
The welcome ceremony of the girls with the president came shortly before the 74-year-old leader left for the United Kingdom for a medical consultation amid concerns over his health. The exact nature of his illness is still not clear.
Buhari will meet with the girls in Abuja on Sunday, his office said. The vice president will be in charge.
“We commend Mr President, the Federal Government and all the other partners for this heartwarming development“, she said.
“They have been handed over to those who will supervise their rehabilitation. He mentioned that they will continue with their education”.
For more than two years after the kidnapping there was no sign of the missing girls but the discovery of one of them with a baby in May last year fuelled hope.
Boko Haram’s attacks have left tens of thousands of people dead and have spilled into Niger, Chad, and Cameroon.
“For parents and families whose children remain in captivity, we urge them to take solace with fact that government is doing everything possible to ensure the safe return of the remaining schoolgirls”.
The released girls were received at the airport on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari by Alhaji Abba Kyari, his chief of staff.
The confirmation of the prisoner swap came a day after the young women were liberated.
More victories for Nigeria.
Over 200 girls were kidnapped at Chibok Girls Secondary School on April 14, 2014, to the shock of many Nigerians and the worldwide community.
“However, I encourage that we must all not rest on our oars until the remaining girls still in captivity are released, so that we can finally have a closure on this sad chapter of our country’s history”, he said. Family members said they were awaiting names and other information before celebrating. Extremists initially abducted all 276 girls in the remote Chibok boarding school, although around 50 successfully escaped just a few hours later. They are expected to be sent to Nigeria’s capital on Sunday to meet the president.
On Friday, Britain and the United States issued a security alert warning of a Boko Haram plot to kidnap foreigners in the Banki area, which led to the suspension of aid flights to the town yesterday.
“Three years is not three days”, he said.
The girls, who wore headscarves, were driven through Abuja to the hospital in a military convoy.
The release follows negotiations with the terror group, which would see the release of some militants suspects held by authorities.
“A happy sight for families missing moved ones”, the aid group says.
“I can confirm they have been released”, said a senior government minister, who asked not to be identified, adding that an official statement would be released later.
Switzerland and the International Committee of the Red Cross helped secure their release after lengthy negotiations with the militant group.
Saturday’s release marks the largest negotiated release so far of the 276 girls whose abduction in 2014 drew worldwide attention to the threat of Nigeria’s extremists. Now 113 of the girls remain unaccounted for.