Boko Haram Releases 82 Schoolgirl Prisoners
Islamist militants of the Boko Haram group have released 82 schoolgirls from a group of 276 they abducted in north-eastern Nigeria three years ago, the president’s office says. They were handed over in exchange for Boko Haram suspects after negotiations. The girls will be received by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Sunday, a statement said.
Boko Haram was ranked as world’s deadliest terror group by 2015 Global Terrorism Index.
Boko Haram, is an Islamic extremist terrorist group based in northeastern Nigeria. Originally affiliated with al-Qaeda, it announced its allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in 2015. Since the current insurgency started in 2009, it has killed over 20,000 and displaced 2.3 million from their homes.
As CNN reported from Lagos, Nigeria:
Eighty-two Chibok schoolgirls have been released after negotiations between the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government, the President’s office said. A government official close to the negotiations told CNN the freed girls are in military custody in the town of Banki in northeast Nigeria.
They will be transferred to the capital, Abuja, where they will have medical checks and be reunited with their families.
They are believed to be among the 276 girls, ages 16 to 18, forced from their beds by Boko Haram militants in the middle of the night in April 2014. The kidnapping from a boarding school in the town of Chibok sparked global outrage and the social media movement #BringBackOurGirls.
“I am very, very excited with this development. I cannot even sleep tonight,” said Yana Galang, whose daughter, Rifkatu, was among the girls kidnapped.
Galang said they don’t yet know who has been released, “but we’re very happy that many have been freed.”“I hope and pray that my daughter is among these released girls,” she added.
President Buhari To Meet With The Girls
Some Boko Haram suspects being held by the government were released as part of the negotiations, President Muhammadu Buhari’s office said Saturday..“The President has repeatedly expressed his total commitment towards ensuring the safe return of the Chibok Girls, and all other Boko Haram captives,” Buhari’s office said in a statement. Buhari will meet with the girls in Abuja on Sunday, his office said..The International Committee of the Red Cross tweeted, “Acting as a neutral intermediary, we @ICRC transported 82 #ChibokGirls to the government of #Nigeria” and included a photo of six Red Cross SUVs on a dirt road.”
(Given) our long historical independent neutral stance, it’s common for us to be the middle man in hostage releases,” said Jason Straziuso, spokesman for ICRC for East Africa. “We provide transportation from Boko Haram to the Nigerian government.” The picture was taken somewhere in Borno State in North East Nigeria. ICRC Africa “thinks” the girls have landed in Abuja.
VIDEO: ‘World’s Deadliest’ Terror Group Releases 82 Schoolgirls After THREE Years Of Captivity