More Than 100 Girls Remain in Boko Haram Custody
After a series of negotiations, Boko Haram finally freed 82 Chibok schoolgirls in a swap, for the release of five top commanders of the terrorist group.
The freed Chibok girls arrived Sunday in the capital city of Abuja and later met by Alhaji Abba Kyari, the country’s chief of staff.
On behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, Kyari welcomed the girls at the airport.
Kyari said, “We are very glad that you are back, and every Nigerian today must be forgetting every other hardship and suffering, because this is a very joyous moment. Welcome, welcome, welcome.”
Out of 276 girls abducted by the terrorist group three years ago, more than 100 of them remain in Boko Haram custody.
CNN reports the negotiation for the release of the Chibok girls included Swiss intermediaries, Nigerian security forces and a mediator. The International Committee of the Red Cross also extended its support to the negotiation but stood as a neutral intermediary.
But the negotiation is an ongoing process for the release of the remaining girls who are still in the hands of the terrorist group. Discussions to free the remaining 113 girls are set to begin at the end of the week.
In addition, the government vowed to speed up the release of the remaining girls. Last month, President Buhari said the government remained “in constant touch through negotiations, through local intelligence to secure the release of the remaining girls and other abducted persons unharmed.”
Looking back: The Kidnappings That Shocked The World
On April 2014, Boko Haram raided the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno state. The raid ended with the abduction of 276 girls. The news spread like wildfire and stirred condemnation from the international community.
The abduction drew international campaign for the return of the girls. US First Lady Michelle Obama initiated the campaign. Later, the campaign became a worldwide phenomenon when Hollywood stars started to led the campaign.
Following the abduction three years ago, 50 girls escaped from the kidnappers. After negotiations with the Red Cross in October 2015, the terrorist group freed another 21 Chibok girls.
News spread that during the captivity, Christian Chibok girls were were encouraged to convert to Islam and to marry their kidnappers.