'Optimism' for release of remaining Chibok hostages

Francis Osborne
May 9, 2017

Five Boko Haram commanders were released in exchange for the freedom of 82 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by the extremist group three years ago, a Nigerian government official said Sunday, as the girls were expected to meet with the country's president and their families.

The statement reads in part: "The President wishes to assure all Nigerians that there is no cause for worry".

He said: "I can not express in a few words how happy I am to welcome our dear girls back to freedom".

"On behalf of all Nigerians, I will like to share my joy with you, your parents, your relatives, friends and the Government of Borno State on regaining your freedom".

Ironside stated that UNICEF will support the Nigerian government in ensuring that the girls are offered best psychological and specialized services.

"The ICRC and the Swiss government deserve praise for tactful handling of the issue and mediating in several months of negotiations to obtain Saturday's release of the girls".

Mohammed said it was clear that the PDP had disdain for human life which it "exhibited in its incautious statement".

Lastly, the education of these girls must continue for as far as they want to.

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Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina later told State House reporters that the girls' rehabilitation had begun.

"The length of the President's stay in London will be determined by the doctors".

The Bring Back Our Girls campaign said Sunday it was happy that Nigeria's government had committed to rescuing the 113 remaining schoolgirls. "We're so relieved in this case that families can be reunited".

The release follows the freeing of a first group of 21 Chibok schoolgirls in October.

Earlier on Sunday, he was pictured sitting in an armchair at his residence, dressed in white traditional robes, looking painfully gaunt, surrounded by 82 recently released Chibok schoolgirls.

The release of the girls may give a boost to Buhari who has hardly appeared in public since returning from Britain in March for treatment of an unspecified illness.

A few others have escaped or been rescued, and 113 of the girls are believed to be still held in captivity by Boko Haram.

The president said the schoolgirls were freed in exchange for detained suspected extremists in the largest negotiated release so far of the almost 300 girls whose mass abduction in 2014 highlighted the threat of Nigeria's homegrown extremist fighters who are linked to the Islamic State group.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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