It was a story that shocked the world. Three years ago, 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped by terrorist group Boko Haram from the Chibok area of Nigeria. It sparked global condemnation, with the #bringbackourgirls social media campaign trending worldwide.
Over the weekend, 82 of the girls were released in a swap between the terrorist group and the Nigerian government. The government freed five top Boko Haram commanders in the deal, said Senator Shehu Sani, who was part of the negotiating effort. “There’s no price too high to pay,” Sani told CNN.
The girls were met at the airport on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, by his chief of staff, Alhaji Abba Kyari. “Welcome our girls, welcome our sisters,” Kyari said to the girls.
This evening I received 82 of our daughters, who have just regained their freedom after three years in Boko Haram captivity. pic.twitter.com/fy6pEXAOZx
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) May 7, 2017
The girls were reportedly in good physical condition, and will undergo further medical checks.
More than 20 girls were released last October in a deal brokered by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Others have escaped or been rescued, however 195 are believed to still be in captivity.
It was reported last month that the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was in talks to secure the release of the remaining captives.
The Boko Haram terrorist group was originally formed in 2002, in opposition to Western-style education. The group launched its first military operation in 2009, and since then has killed thousands of people, and abducted hundreds of others. The group has also now joined the so-called Islamic State, and calls itself the “West African province” of the Islamic State.