The Federal Government of Nigeria has confirmed that 21 of the over 200 schoolgirls abducted from their dormitory, one eerie night in April 2014, have been released by terrorist sect Boko Haram.
The girls were abducted from Chibok, a community in Borno, North East Nigeria.
Their captors dropped them off at the Banki area of Borno State. A military helicopter thereafter picked them up before transporting them to a hospital facility for routine medical checks.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said the release of a clutch of the schoolgirls whose abduction sparked global outrage and processions, was the result of months of negotiations.
“It is confirmed that 21 of the missing Chibok Girls have been released and are in the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS”, Shehu said in a statement made available to us.
“The Director-General, Malam Lawal Daura just finished briefing President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The release of the girls, in a limited number is the outcome of negotiations between the administration and the Boko Haram brokered by the International Red Cross and the Swiss government. The negotiations will continue.
“The President welcomes the release of the girls but cautioned Nigerians to be mindful of the fact that more than 30,000 fellow citizens were killed via terrorism.
“Malam Lawal wants the girls to have some rest, with all of them very tired coming out of the process before he hands them over to the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo. The President takes off shortly on a trip to Germany for a state visit.
“The names of the released girls follows shortly”.
The abduction of the girls gave birth to the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) campaign; an advocacy movement which took to marching around the nation’s capital of Abuja and well into the seat of power in Aso Villa, to demand that government quickens its pace towards the rescue of the girls.
The BBOG group has been led by outspoken former Nigerian Minister and former Vice President of the World Bank for Africa, Obiageli Ezekwesili.
“I can only weep, right now”, said Ms Ezekwesili. “You know that kind of cry that is a mix of multiple emotions. Lord, some of our girls are back!!!”
Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 Nigerians and displaced millions more since it commenced a brutal insurgency against the state in 2009.