Up to 50 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram released

Hazel Gray
May 7, 2017

A Nigerian official said that while some girls had been released by Boko Haram they had not yet reached the Borno state capital of Maiduguri. Family members said they were awaiting names and other information before celebrating. An unknown number of girls kidnapped from their Nigerian boarding school by jihadists three years ago have been released, a government official said Saturday, May 6, 2017.

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.

"Huge numbers", the personal assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari, Bashir Ahmad, tweeted late Saturday, without giving details.

April 13, 2016: Boko Haram video appears to show some of the Chibok girls, and tearful mothers recognize their daughters.

The fate of almost 200 girls was still unknown before the latest release. It is feared some were forced to carry out suicide bombing missions for Boko Haram, which has ties to the Islamic State group.

Numerous girls were forced to marry the Islamic extremists and became pregnant. After months of negotiations, the girls were exchanged "for some Boko Haram suspects held by the authorities", according to a government statement.

Extremists from the group, meanwhile, are actively planning to kidnap western foreign workers in north-east Nigeria, according to the U.S. and United Kingdom governments.

Officials say the girls were freed near the town of Banki along the border with Cameroon.

"This is a very, very exciting news for us that we have over 80 of our girls coming back again", Bukky Shonibare with the #BringBackOurGirls campaign told Sky TV.

The government says the Swiss government and the International Committee of the Red Cross helped in negotiations with the extremist group.

The Nigeria-based Boko Haram has been pushed out of strongholds by military efforts but continues to control parts of the country's north-east.

Other reports by VgToday

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