82 Chibok schoolgirls freed in swap deal with Boko Haram

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Nigeria has secured the release of 82 more Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants more than three years ago.

The girls, according to government sources, were released Saturday after negotiation with the militants.

This brings to 103 the girls already freed by the Boko Haram militants.

The first batch of 21 were freed last October with the aid of the Red Cross and Switzerland. Two others walked into freedom on their own, making 105 girls out of the Boko Haram clutches.

‘They are now at Banki, a border town and will be flown to Abuja on Sunday”, a government source told NAN Saturday night.

“The story is authentic’, added the source.

The Bring Back Our Girls(#BBOG) Campaigners in a statement Saturday night also hinted about the release of the girls, although they said they were awaiting official confirmation.

“We have been made aware of the yet-to-be-confirmed news that a number of our missing 195 Chibok girls in captivity have been released through negotiation”, said Sesugh Akume, spokesperson for BBOG.

“It would be recalled that in October last year when the 21 were released, the Federal Government, specifically the Presidency said that 83 more were ‘on their way’.

“We await official confirmation from the Federal Government and a release of their names. We shall go to work to confirm the news to verify its authenticity, and communicate same to the public.

“Our hopes and expectations are high as we look forward to this news being true and confirmed”.

The girls were kidnapped at Chibok Girls Secondary School on 14 April 2014, to the shock of many Nigerians and the international community.

Meanwhile, the Presidency on Saturday confirmed the release of about 82 abducted Chibok schoolgirls after three years of captivity.

Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, confirmed the release of the girls in a statement he posted online on Saturday in Abuja.

The presidential spokesman stated that the President was pleased over the successful negotiations leading to the release of the affected girls.

He announced that President Buhari also commended the nation’s security agencies for their efforts in ensuring the release of the girls.

According to him, the president will be receiving the rescued girls in Abuja on Sunday.

Shehu also confirmed that the girls were release by their captors in exchange for some Boko Haram suspects held by the Federal Government.

”President Buhari is pleased to announce that negotiations to release more of the Chibok Girls have bore fruit with the release of 82 more girls today after months of patient negotiations. Our security agencies have taken back these abducted girls in exchange for some Boko Haram suspects held by the authorities.

”The girls are due tomorrow in Abuja to be received by the President. The president expressed his deep gratitude to security agencies, the military, the government of Switzerland, the Red Cross, local and international NGOs for the success of the operation.

“It may be recalled when the first batch of 21 girls were released in October 2016, the president directed the security agencies to continue in earnest until all the Chibok girls have been released and reunited with their families.

”The president has been receiving full reports from the Director-General of the Department of State Services at each stage of the operation.”

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