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Boko Haram released 82 Chibok schoolgirls in Nigeria

21 school girls released in October 2016 with Nigeria's Vice President Osinbajo in Abuja, Nigeria. 21 school girls released in October 2016 with Nigeria's Vice President Osinbajo in Abuja, Nigeria. @ProfOsinbajo

7 May 2017
On Saturday May 6th, Boko Haram released 82 schoolgirls in exchange for five militant leaders.

In April 2014, around 270 girls were kidnapped by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which has killed 15,000 people and displaced more than two million during a seven-year insurgency aimed at creating an Islamic caliphate in northeastern Nigeria.

Following months of negotiations in Switzerland and Sudan, a military source reported that on Sunday morning the girls were brought from Banki, near the Cameroon border, to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, where the insurgency first started.

The deal was negotiated by the barrister Mustapha Zanna,who is currently the proprietor of an orphanage in Maiduguri, but who was once the lawyer of the late founder of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf. The Swiss government and the Red Cross also played a role in the negotiations.
Boko Haram released 21 girls and young women in a similar deal in October 2016, also involving the Red Cross in the transfer of those released captives. At the time, it was announced 83 further captives would be subsequently released. According to a AP Associated Press estimates that
195 of the girls had remained captive, while 113 remain unaccounted for.

The Nigerian military has retaken most of the territory initially lost to the militants but large parts of the northeast, particularly in Borno state, remain under threat from the group. Suicide bombings and guns attacks, which have increased in the region since the end of the rainy season late last year, have made it nearly impossible for displaced persons to return to their recaptured hometowns.

This part of Nigeria is the western edge of an arc of hunger stretching across the breadth of Africa through South Sudan, Somalia and into Yemen on the Arabian peninsula. The United Nations (UN) believes as many as 20 million people are in danger in what could become the world's worst famine for decades.


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