A number of Boko Haram commanders were exchanged for 21 Chibok girls, CNN is reporting.
The satellite television quoted a source aware of the negotiations as saying: “A number of Boko Haram commanders were freed as part of Thursday’s release of the girls.”
This is coming 24 hours after the government said that no Boko Haram prisoner was swapped for the girls.
Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, emphasised that nothing was given in exchange for the girls.
“We can confirm that 21 Chibok schoolgirls were released at 5:30am today, and flown to Kaduna. We expect them to arrive in Abuja soon. We have the names of the girls and we are now contacting their parents. As soon as that is done we will release their names,” he said.
“Please note that this is not a swap, but a release. The release of these girls does mean an end to military operations, but it is a new phase in the war against insurgency.”
He said that the release of the girls was secured through “confidence building” with Boko Haram.
When asked again what the government gave in return for the girls, Mohammed insisted that nothing was given in exchange for them.
“People want to believe bad news than good news. The girls were released, there was no swap,” he said.
However, a separate source also confirmed to CNN that that release of the girls was not by prisoner exchange.