Nigerian official says more Chibok girls have been released

Rebeca Samuel the mother of one of the abducted Chibok girls breaks down in tears at an April Bring Back Our Girls event

Rebeca Samuel the mother of one of the abducted Chibok girls breaks down in tears at an April Bring Back Our Girls event

The president's chief of staff, Mr Abba Kyari had earlier on Sunday received the newly released Chibok girls in the company of other government officials.

The 82 girls were released to global negotiators who have been working in collaboration with the Federal government for their safe return since they were kidnapped in April 2014.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has expressed delight at the release of the 82 of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents more than three years ago.

"Today 82 more Chibok girls were released", it said on Saturday.

He said the current administration was averse to propaganda, adding that it was diligently working hard to put the country on the path of growth and development.

The girls were handed over on Saturday in exchange for Boko Haram suspects after negotiations.

Nigeria secured the release with mediation by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

"Unfortunately, when they were brought back, the Federal Government didn't give us access and we said that was okay, all we wanted was access between the girls and their parents".

According to Premium Times, the girls are now meeting with Buhari inside his official residence behind closed doors. He emphasized that he considered all 82 of the girls to be his daughters "because a lot of them worship in my church".

Their release will be a boost for Buhari, a former military ruler who made crushing the Boko Haram insurgency a major pillar of his election campaign in 2015.

They were from a group of 276 abducted in north-eastern Nigeria in 2014.

A military source said the girls were now in Banki near the Cameroon border for medical checks before being airlifted to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau claimed in a video message that they had converted to Islam.

"UNICEF calls on Boko Haram to end all grave violations against children, especially the abduction of children and the sexual abuse and forced marriage of girls".

The ICRC, which along with the Swiss government has mediated months of negotiations between Nigeria's government and Boko Haram, tweeted what might be the first public image of the freed schoolgirls on Sunday.

Buhari late previous year announced Boko Haram had been "crushed", but the group continues to carry out attacks in northern Nigeria and neighboring countries.

"We are exceedingly delighted by this good news that has been long awaited following last October when upon the release of our 21 #ChibokGirls, our federal government promised that; another 83 was being negotiated to be released very soon". Others have escaped or been rescued, but 195 were believed to be still in captivity before this release.

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