The Spokesman for Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, has confirmed that 21 out of the Chibok girls kidnapped by the Boko Haram sect have been released.
A statement by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, said that President Muhammadu Buhari, has already been briefed on the development.
He said that the release of the girls, in a limited number, is the outcome of negotiations between the administration and the Boko Haram, brokered by the International Red Cross and the Swiss Government.
The statement added that the President welcomes the release of the girls but cautioned Nigerians to be mindful of the fact that more than 30,000 fellow citizens were killed via terrorism.
The DSS DG told the President that he wanted the girls to have some rest, as all of them have returned very tired as a result of the rescue process, before he hands them over to the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
Sources close to the Borno state government told Channels Television that some girls were brought to the Air Force Hospital in Maiduguri.
The girls are said to be undergoing screening to determine their state of health as well as their profile.
On April 14, 2014, over 200 girls were abducted from their hostels at Government Secondary School, Chibok in Borno state.
In the heat of the over six-year insurgency, Borno State, in northeast Nigeria became a strong hold of the Boko Haram.
Since the abduction of the girls, pressure has been mounted on the Federal Government to rescue them, including demands for a swap with members of Boko Haram in detention.
Although it is yet to be confirmed if an actual swap took place, the news is coming shortly after President Buhari agreed to the idea of swapping Boko Haram prisoners for the Chibok girls in August.
However, that was on the condition that the group should be able to list those they wanted released and then come out to discuss with the Federal Government.
At the recently concluded 70th United Nations General Assembly in New York, the President reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to rescuing the girls.
In his address, he stated that “one of our major aims is to rescue the Chibok girls alive and unharmed”.
The girls’ abduction had raised a world-wide condemnation including the UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon and U.S First Lady Michelle Obama, culminating in the formation of the group, #BringBackOurGirls, that have been at the forefront of pushing for the release of the girls.
One of the abducted girls, Aminat Ali Nkeki was rescued in May 2016 during a raid on Sambisa forest by the military.