Thursday 8 December 2016

21 of abducted Nigeria schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram have been freed

Ismail Alfa Abdulrahim

Published 13/10/2016 | 12:07

A screengrab taken from a video showing the abducted girls in full-length hijab, praying in an undisclosed location Photo: AFP/Getty
A screengrab taken from a video showing the abducted girls in full-length hijab, praying in an undisclosed location Photo: AFP/Getty

Some 21 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram extremists more than two years ago have been freed, Nigerian officials say.

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Presidential spokesman Mallam Garba Shehu said the girls are in the custody of Nigeria's Department of State Services.

He said the release is a result of negotiations between the government and Boko Haram, brokered by the Swiss government and the International Red Cross.

He said negotiations will continue.

President Muhammadu Buhari, third right, meets rescued Chibok schoolgirl Amina Ali, far left, and her four-month-old baby (AP)
President Muhammadu Buhari, third right, meets rescued Chibok schoolgirl Amina Ali, far left, and her four-month-old baby (AP)

The abduction of 276 schoolgirls in April 2014 brought international condemnation of Boko Haram, Nigeria's home-grown Islamic extremist group. Dozens of the girls escaped, but most remain missing.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has said the girls will only be released if the government swaps them for detained extremist leaders.

A Chibok schoolgirl who had escaped from the Boko Haram, reacts during an event that marks the second anniversary of the abduction of the schoolgirls, in Abuja, Nigeria
A Chibok schoolgirl who had escaped from the Boko Haram, reacts during an event that marks the second anniversary of the abduction of the schoolgirls, in Abuja, Nigeria
A still from Boko Haram video, showing a masked man talking to the kidnapped schoolgirls. Image: Reuters

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