Published: Thu, May 11, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Chibok schoolgirls released in exchange for detained Boko Haram suspects

Chibok schoolgirls released in exchange for detained Boko Haram suspects

Presidential adviser Femi Adesina said: "The president was delighted to receive them and he promised that all that is needed to be done to reintegrate them into the society will be done".

Photos distributed Sunday by the government showed the women in colorful T-shirts and wraps meeting Sunday with President Muhammadu Buhari before he announced he was leaving for London immediately for treatment of his own undisclosed illness.

Buhari said last month that the government was in talks to secure the release of the remaining captives.

The Boko Haram sect released 82 Chibok girls in a deal that reportedly saw the Federal Government swapping prisoners for the students.

The 82 youngsters were welcomed in the capital Abuja to the official residence of Muhammadu Buhari, more than three years after they were abducted from the village of Chibok.

The welcome ceremony of the girls with the president came shortly before the 74-year-old leader left for the United Kingdom for a medical consultation amid concerns over his health. Two more girls who successfully escaped have also since been discovered.

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Now in its eighth year, Boko Haram's insurgency has sought to create an Islamic caliphate in northeast Nigeria, as well as in the bordering regions of Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

Thousands of people have been killed and about 1.6 million driven from their homes in the eight-year insurgency by Boko Haram.

Boko Haram seized a total of 276 girls in the 2014 abduction.

In a statement late on Saturday night, the Nigerian government thanked Switzerland and the International Committee of the Red Cross for helping to release the girls after "lengthy negotiations".

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the latest release and urged the worldwide community to support Nigeria's government to work toward getting all Boko Haram victims home. Human rights advocates believe others could be among the young girls who have been used to carry out suicide bombing attacks.

Some parents did not live long enough to see their daughters released, underscoring the tragedy of the saga.

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