Boko Haram releases 82 Chibok girls in prisoner swap

Sunday, May 7th, 2017, 8:39 am

No word from the Nigerian presidency on the number of Bok Haram prisoners exchanged.

Boko Haram militants have released 82 schoolgirls out of a group of more than 200 whom they kidnapped from the northeastern town of Chibok in April 2014 in exchange for prisoners, the presidency said on Saturday.

Switzerland and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) helped secure the 82 girls in “lengthy negotiations”, the presidency said on its Twitter account.

President Muhammadu Buhari will receive the girls on Sunday in the capital Abuja, it said, without saying how many Boko Haram suspects had been exchanged or disclosing other details.

A military source said the girls were currently in Banki near the Cameroon border for medical checks before being airlifted to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State. From there they will be flown to Abuja.

The kidnapping was one of the high-profile incidents of Boko Haram’s insurgency in Nigeria’s northeast, now in its eighth year and with little sign of ending. About 220 were abducted from their school in a night-time attack.

More than 20 girls were released last October in a deal brokered by the ICRC. Others have escaped or been rescued, but 195 were believed to be still in captivity before this release.