Boko Haram releases 21 Chibok schoolgirls it had captured in April 2014
The militant group Boko Haram had caused an international outcry when it captured 200 Nigerian schoolgirls in April 2014.
On Thursday, Nigerian officials confirmed the release of 21 girls by the militant group.
Mallam Garba Shehu, the spokesperson for the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, announced the news on Twitter. He tweeted:
It is confirmed that 21 of the missing Chibok Girls have been released and are in the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS. 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 negotiations will continue.
The names of the 21 girls were released. The Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and some members of the cabinet met with the 21 released Cheebok Girls. The pictures of the meeting too made it to Twitter.
An Islamic militant group based in northeastern Nigeria, Boko Haram announced its allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The Boko Haram has killed 20,000 people and displaced 2.3 million people from their homes since their insurgency started in 2009.
In April 2014, in an outrageous mass abduction, they kidnapped 276 girls in the middle of the night from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria.
Over the months following the kidnappings, almost 57 girls had managed to escape. Of the 219 girls with Boko Haram, the release of the 21 girls is welcome news.
However, this does not write off the atrocities and crimes committed by the Boko Haram and Mallam Garba Shehu, the spokesperson for Muhammadu Buhari, was quick to point it out:
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.