Eighty-two Chibok schoolgirls have been freed at the Borno border town of Banki following days of negotiation between the Federal Government and the Boko Haram.
The 82 girls were released to the negotiators at Banki, a town on the Nigeria-Cameroon border. A military source said three Boko Haram commanders were swapped for the Chibok girls though Sunday Sun could not authenticate the claim as at press time.
A source said the International Red Cross was part of the negotiation, adding that the girls were already undergoing medical and security checks before being flown in military helicopters to Maiduguri, Borno capital and later to Abuja today (Sunday).
Spokesman to the minister of Information, Segun Adeyemi confirmed the release of the girls on his Facebook page. “82 Chibok girls are freed,” he said without providing details.
Another top government official confirmed the release of the girls, but asked not to be quoted.
In October 2016, 21 of the girls were released by Boko Haram after weeks of negotiations.
The release of the 21 followed the freedom of Nkeki, the first Chibok girl to be discovered almost two years after the April 14, 2014 abduction, which sparked off international outrage and formation of the national group; #BringBackOurGirls to press the government and military for the release of the abducted girls. No fewer than 55 girls are still believed to be with Boko Haram.
In a statement issued last night and signed by its spokesperson, Sesugh Akume, #BringBackOurGirls said,
“We have been made aware of the yet-to-be-confirmed news that a number of our missing 195 Chibok girls in captivity have been released through negotiation.
“It would be recalled that in October last year when the 21 were released, the Federal Government, specifically the Presidency said that 83 more were ‘on their way’.
“We await official confirmation from the Federal Government and a release of their names. We shall go to work to confirm the news to verify its authenticity, and communicate same to the public.
“Our hopes and expectations are high as we look forward to this news being true and confirmed.”