Eighty-two of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls have been released by their Boko Haram captors, according to a report from The Christian Post.
The nearly 300 girls were abducted three years ago, and while several of them were released previously, were able to escape, or reportedly died, this marks the largest release of the captives.
The Nigerian government has been under pressure to negotiate the release of the girls. The girls’ parents and communities have not stopped campaigning for their rescue. The #BringBackOurGirls campaign received national attention.
"I am very, very excited with this development. I cannot even sleep tonight," said Yana Galang, whose daughter, Rifkatu, was among those kidnapped. She added that it's not known yet if her daughter is among those who were released "but we're very happy that many have been freed … I hope and pray that my daughter is among these released girls."
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s government was able to negotiate the release of the girls in exchange for the release of suspected Boko Haram prisoners.
"The President has repeatedly expressed his total commitment towards ensuring the safe return of the #ChibokGirls, and all other Boko Haram captives,” said a statement from the president’s office.
The extremist Boko Haram militants have been terrorizing Nigeria for several years. Their name means “Western education is a sin,” and they especially target schools.
The released girls are currently in military custody and will soon be transferred to a medical facility.
Although there is much rejoicing at the release of the 82 girls, 113 still remain unaccounted for.
Photo: A woman holds a sign that reads 'Bring back our girls' during a protest outside Nigeria House on May 9, 2014 in London, England. 276 schoolgirls were abducted from their boarding school on 14 April, 2014 in the town of Chibok in north-eastern Borno state in Nigeria. The abductions have sparked protests around the world calling for the release of the girls who are being held by the militant group Boko Haram.
Photo courtesy: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Publication date: May 8, 2017