Twenty-one of the more than 200 girls kidnapped over two years ago in a raid on their school in Chibok town by Boko Haram militants have been released, the BBC reported on Thursday citing a government official.
The spokesman for Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has tweeted confirmation of the Chibok girls’ release
“The President welcomes the release of the girls but cautioned Nigerians to be mindful of the fact that more than 30,000 fellow citizens.” Mallam Garba Shehu said
The release of the girls, in a limited number is the outcome of negotiations between the administration and the Boko Haram…
— Mallam Garba Shehu (@GarShehu) October 13, 2016
Previous reports of the girls’ release have turned out to be wrong.
The Islamist militant group kidnapped more than 270 students from a school in Chibok in April 2014 – an act that provoked international condemnation.
It also sparked one of the biggest global social media campaigns, with tweeters using the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls.
The BBC’s Martin Patience in Nigeria says the government official did not say how the kidnapped students had been rescued.
But the military is currently carrying out a large-scale operation in the Sambisa forest, which is a Boko Haram stronghold.
There has only been one confirmed release of a student kidnapped from Chibok more than two years ago.
In May, a 19-year-old woman was found carrying by an army-backed vigilante group.
After that it was believed that 218 students were still missing – more than 50 managed to escape on the day they were captured.
Boko Haram has also kidnapped thousands of other people during its seven-year insurgency in north-east Nigeria.