82 schoolgirls freed in swap with Boko Haram detainees
MAIDUGURI: Eighty-two Chibok schoolgirls seized three years ago by Boko Haram have been freed in exchange for detained suspects with the extremist group, Nigeria’s government announced yesterday, in the largest release negotiated yet in the battle to save nearly 300 girls whose mass abduction exposed the mounting threat posed by the Islamic State-linked fighters.
The statement from the office of President Muhammadu Buhari was the first confirmation that his government had made a swap for the girls.
After an initial release of 21 Chibok girls in October, the government denied making an exchange or paying ransom.
The April 2014 abduction by Boko Haram brought the extremist group’s rampage in northern Nigeria to world attention and, for families of the schoolgirls, began years marked with heartbreak. AP