Published: Sun, May 07, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Nigeria says exchange made for 82 Chibok girls

Boko Haram has released 82 girls kidnapped in 2014 in the northern Nigerian town of Chibok in exchange for members of the militant group held by authorities, the Nigerian presidency said on Saturday.

April 13, 2016: Boko Haram video appears to show some of the Chibok girls, and tearful mothers recognize their daughters. Some were able to escape and 21 were released in October after negotiations brokered by the Red Cross between the administration and Boko Haram.

The girls were released through negotiations with the government, one official said, asking not to be named.

November 5, 2016: Military announces the first army rescue of a Chibok girl, during a raid on a forest hideout.

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

The 276 schoolgirls kidnapped from Chibok in April 2014 are among thousands of people abducted by Boko Haram over the years.

Buhari late past year announced Boko Haram had been "crushed", but the group continues to carry out attacks in northern Nigeria and neighboring countries.

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A military source said the girls were now in Banki near the Cameroon border for medical checks before being airlifted to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.

The number released could not be independently confirmed by The Associated Press, and there was no official government announcement late Saturday.

The kidnapping was one of the high-profile incidents of Boko Haram's insurgency, now in its eighth year and with little sign of ending. They were in military custody late Saturday.

"The four Boko Haram militants were brought to Banki from Maiduguri in a military helicopter from where they were driven to Kumshe in ICRC vehicles", AFP reported quoting local sources.

May 6, 2017: Nigerian official says another 83 schoolgirls are released.

Numerous girls seized from their boarding school were forced into marriages with fighters and became pregnant.

Nigeria's government in October announced the first negotiated release of 21 of the schoolgirls. Though the government denied prisoner swap took place on that occasion, multiple sources, however, insisted that four Boko Haram prisoners were freed in order to secure the release of the girls.

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