Boko Haram Frees 21 Chibok School Girls, Most Carrying Babies

On Thursday morning, Nigerian government officials announced that Boko Haram had released 21 of the missing Chibok schoolgirls who were kidnapped in 2014.The Director of the organisation Prof. “The negotiations will continue”, the spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, said on Twitter. “It is a plus for President Muhammadu Buhari”.Buhari, who was heading to Germany on an official visit Thursday, welcomed the girls’ release. “A silver lining has appeared in the sky after cloudy and stormy days”.”It’s just a first step in what we believe will lead to the eventual release of all our girls”, Nigerian information minister Lai Mohammed said in Abuja.An Akure-based legal practitioner, Yemi Salau, said that the release of the girls had added more “glamour and colour” to the Buhari Administration.Some 197 girls remain captives of the ISIS-affiliated Boko Haram, although it is not known how many have died.”We also thank the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Swiss government and all negotiators involved in securing the release”. They were said to be “very exhausted”. “But it could mean a new phase in the conduct of the war against terror”.He said they would later be relocated to Abuja where they will be examined by psychologists, medical doctors, social workers, and trauma experts.About 50 of the kidnapped girls can be seen in a Boko Haram propaganda video released earlier this year.The militants herded 276 girls out of bed in the middle of the night at a school in Chibok in northern Nigeria in April 2014. It was reported the girls had been released in return for four Boko Haram prisoners.Boko Haram has kidnapped thousands of other people during its seven-year insurgency in north-east Nigeria. Many of them were forcibly married to fighters and moved into what were effectively rape camps across northeastern Nigeria. He said the girls’ parents were on their way to the Nigerian capital to be reunited with them.In May, a pro-government vigilante group found one of the schoolgirls, Amina Ali, wandering in the Sambisa forest.Boko Haram says its aim is to impose a stricter enforcement of Sharia law across Africa’s most populous nation, which is split between a majority Muslim north and a mostly Christian south. It was not clear if any money changed hands in this swap.

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